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THE  RED  AND  THE   BLACK 

A  CHRONICLE  OF  1830 


THE  RED  and 

THE  BLACK 

a  Cbronicle  of  1830 


By 
STENDHAL 

Translated  by  HORACE  B.  SAMUEL,  M.A., 

Late  Scholar  Corpus  Christi  College,  Oxford 


LONDON 

/    KEGAN  PAUL,  TRENCH,  TRUBNER  &  Co.,  Ltd 

New  York:  E,  P.  DUTTON  and  Co. 
1916 


nearicK  nan 


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rise: 


INTRODUCTION 

SOME  slight  sketch  of  the  life  and  character  of 
Stendhal  is  particularly  necessary  to  an  understanding 
of  Le  Rouge  et  Le  Noir  {The  Red  and  the  Black)  not 
so  much  as  being  the  formal  stuffing  of  which  introduc- 
tions are  made,  but  because  the  book  as  a  book  stands 
in  the  most  intimate  relation  to  the  author's  life  and 
character.  The  hero,  Julien,  is  no  doubt,  viewed 
superficially,  a  cad,  a  scoundrel,  an  assassin,  albeit  a 
person  who  will  alternate  the  moist  eye  of  the  senti- 
mentalist with  the  ferocious  grin  of  the  beast  of 
prey.  But  Stendhal  so  far  from  putting  forward  any 
excuses  makes  a  specific  point  of  wallowing  defiantly 
in  his  own  alleged  wickedness.  "  Even  assuming  that 
Julien  is  a  villain  and  that  it  is  my  portrait,"  he  wrote 
shortly  after  the  publication  of  the  book,  "  why  quarrel 
with  me.  In  the  time  of  the  Emperor,  Julien  would 
have  passed  for  a  very  honest  man.  I  lived  in  the 
time  of  the  Emperor.  So — but  what  does  it  matter  ?  " 
Henri  Beyle  was  born  in  1783  in  Grenoble  in 
Dauphiny,  the  son  of  a  royalist  lawyer,  situated  on 
the  borderland  between  the  gentry  and  that  bourgeoisie 
which  our  author  was  subsequently  to  chastise  with  that 
malice  peculiar  to  those  who  spring  themselves  from  the 
class  which  they  despise.  The  boy's  character  was  a 
compound  of  sensibility  and  hard  rebelliousness,  virility 
and  introspection.     Orphaned  of  his  mother  at  the  age 


vi.  INTRODUCTION 

of  seven,  hated  by  his  father  and  unpopular  with  his 
schoolmates,  he  spent  the  orthodox  unhappy  childhood 
of  the  artistic  temperament.  Winning  a  scholarship  at 
the  Ecole  Polytechnique  at  the  age  of  sixteen  he  pro- 
ceeded to  Paris,  where  with  characteristic  independence 
he  refused  to  attend  the  college  classes  and  set  himself 
to  study  privately  in  his  solitary  rooms. 

In  1800  the  influence  of  his  relative  M.  Daru  pro- 
cured him  a  commission  in  the  French  Army,  and  the 
Marengo  campaign  gave  him  an  opportunity  of  practis- 
ing that  Napoleonic  worship  to  which  throughout  his  life 
he  remained  consistently  faithful,  for  the  operation  of  the 
philosophical  materialism  of  the  French  sceptics  on  an 
essentially  logical  and  mathematical  mind  soon  swept 
away  all  competing  claimants  for  his  religious  adoration; 
Almost  from  his  childhood,  moreover,  he  had  abomin- 
ated the  Jesuits,  and  "  Papism  is  the  source  of  all 
crimes,"  was  throughout  his  life  one  of  his  favourite 
maxims. 

After  the  army's  triumphant  entry  into  Milan,  Beyle 
returned  to  Grenoble  on  furlough,  whence  he  dashed  off 
to  Paris  in  pursuit  of  a  young  woman  to  whom  he  was 
paying  some  attention,  resigned  his  commission  in  the 
army  and  set  himself  to  study  "  with  the  view  of  becoming 
a  great  man."  It  is  in  this  period  that  we  find  the  most 
marked  development  in  Beyle's  enthusiasm  of  psy- 
chology. This  tendancy  sprang  primarily  no  doubt 
from  his  own  introspection.  For  throughout  his 
life  Beyle  enjoyed  the  indisputable  and  at  times 
dubious  luxury  of  a  double  consciousness.  He  in- 
variably carried  inside  his  brain  a  psychological  mirror 
which  reflected  every  phrase  of  his  emotion  with 
scientific  accuracy.      And    simultaneously,   the    critical 


INTRODUCTION  vii. 

spirit,  half-genie,  half-demon  inside  his  brain,  would 
survey  in  the  semi-detached  mood  of  a  keenly  interested 
spectator,  the  actual  emotion  itself,  applaud  or  con- 
demn it  as  the  case  might  be,  and  ticket  the  verdict 
with  ample  commentations  in  the  psychological  register 
of  its  own  analysis. 

But  this  trend  to  psychology,  while  as  we  have 
seen,  to  some  extent,  the  natural  development  of  mere 
self-analysis  was  also  tinged  with  the  spirit  of  self- 
preservation.  With  a  mind,  which  in  spite  of  its  natural 
physical  courage  was  morbidly  susceptible  to  ridicule 
and  was  only  too  frequently  the  dupe  of  the  fear  of 
being  duped,  Stendhal  would  scent  an  enemy  in  every 
friend,  and  as  a  mere  matter  of  self-protection  set 
himself  to  penetrate  the  secret  of  every  character  with 
which  he  came  into  contact.  One  is  also  justified  in 
taking  into  account  an  honest  intellectual  enthusiasm 
which  found  its  vent  in  deciphering  the  rarer  and  more 
precious  manuscripts  of  the  "human  document." 

With  the  exception  of  a  stay  in  Marseilles,  with  his 
first  mistress  Melanie  Guilhert  ("  a  charming  actress  who 
had  the  most  refined  sentiments  and  to  whom  I  never 
gave  a  sou,")  and  a  subsequent  sojourn  in  Grenoble, 
Stendhal  remained  in  Paris  till  1806,  living  so  far  as  was 
permitted  by  the  modest  allowance  of  his  niggard  father 
the  full  life  of  the  literary  temperament.  The  essence^ 
however,  of  his  character  was  that  he  was  at  the  same 
time  a  man  of  imagination  and  a  man  of  action.  We 
consequently  find  him  serving  in  the  Napoleonic  cam- 
paigns of  1806,  1809  and  1 81 2.  He  was  present  at  the 
Battle  of  Jena,  came  several  times  into  personal  contact 
with  Napoleon,  discharged  with  singular  efficiency  the 
administration  of  the  State  of  Brunswick,  and  retained 


viii.  INTRODUCTION 

his  sang-froid  and  his  bravery  during  the  whole  of  the 
panic-stricken  retreat  of  the  Moscow  campaign. 

It  is,  moreover,  to  this  period  that  we  date  Stendhal's 
liaison  with  Mme.  Daru  the  wife  of  his  aged  relative, 
M.  Daru.  This  particular  intrigue  has,  moreover,  a 
certain  psychological  importance  in  that  Mme.  Daru 
constituted  the  model  on  whom  Mathilde  de  la  Mole  was 
drawn  in  The  Red  and  the  Black.  The  student  and 
historian  consequently  who  is  anxious  to  check  how  far 
the  novelist  is  drawing  on  his  experience  and  how  far  on 
his  imagination  can  compare  with  profit  the  description 
of  the  Mathilde  episode  in  The  Red  and  the  Black  with 
those  sections  in  Stendhal's  Journal  entitled  the  Life 
and  Sentiments  of  Silencious  Harry,  Memoirs  of  my  Life 
during  my  Amour  with  Countess  Palfy,  and  also  with 
the  posthumous  fragment,  Le  Consultation  de  Banti,  a 
piece  of  methodical  deliberation  on  the  pressing  question. 
"  Dois-je  ou  ne  dois-je  pas  avoir  la  duchesse  ?  "  written 
with  all  the  documentary  coldness  of  a  Government 
report.  It  is  characteristic  that  both  Bansi  and  Julien 
decide  in  the  affirmative  as  a  matter  of  abstract  principle. 
For  they  both  feel  that  they  must  necessarily  reproach 
themselves  in  after  life  if  they  miss  so  signal  an 
opportunity. 

Disgusted  by  the  Restoration,  Stendhal  migrated  in 
1 8 14  to  Milan,  his  favourite  town  in  Europe,  whose  rich 
and  varied  life  he  savoured  to  the  full  from  the  cele- 
brated ices  in  the  entreates  of  the  opera,  to  the  re- 
ciprocated interest  of  Mme.  Angelina  Pietragrua  (the 
Duchesse  de  Sansererina  of  the  Chartreuse  of  Parma), 
"  a  sublime  wanton  a  la  Lucrezia  Borgia  "  who  would 
appear  to  have  deceived  him  systematically.  It  was  in 
Milan  that  Stendhal  first  began  to  write  for  publication, 


INTRODUCTION  ix. 

producing  in  1814  The  Lives  of  Haydn  and  Mozart,  and 
in  18 17  a  series  of  travel  sketches,  Rome,  Naples,  Florence, 
which  was  published  in  London. 

It  was  in  Milan  also  than  Stendhal  first  nursed  the 
abstract  thrills  of  his  grand  passion  for  Metilde  Countess 
Dunbowska,  whose  angelic  sweetness  would  seem  to 
have  served  at  any  rate  to  some  extent  as  a  prototype 
to  the  character  of  Mme.  de  Renal.  In  1821  the  novelist 
was  expelled  from  Milan  on  the  apparently  unfounded 
accusation  of  being  a  French  spy.  It  is  typical  of  that 
mixture  of  brutal  sensuality  and  rarefied  sentimentalism 
which  is  one  of  the  most  fascinating  features  of  Stendhal's 
character,  that  even  though  he  had  never  loved  more 
than  the  lady's  heart,  he  should  have  remained  for  three 
years  faithful  to  this  mistress  of  his  ideal. 

In  1822  Stendhal  published  his  treatise,  De  l'Amour, 
a  practical  scientific  treatise  on  the  erotic  emotion  by 
an  author  who  possessed  the  unusual  advantage  of 
being  at  the  same  time  an  acute  psychologist  and  a 
brilliant  man  of  the  world,  who  could  test  abstract 
theories  by  concrete  practice  and  could  co-ordinate  what 
he  had  felt  in  himself  and  observe  in  others  into  broad 
general  principles. 

In  1825  Stendhal  plunging  vigorously  into  the  con- 
troversy between  the  Classicists  and  the  Romanticists, 
published  his  celebrated  pamphlet,  Racine  and  Shakes- 
peare, in  which  he  vindicated  with  successful  crispness 
the  claims  of  live  verse  against  sterotyped  couplets  and 
of  modern  analysis  against  historical  tradition.  His 
next  work  was  the  Life  of  Rossini,  whom  he  had  known 
personally  in  Milan,  while  in  1827  he  published  his  first 
novel  Armance,  which,  while  not  equal  to  the  author's 
greatest  work,  give  none  the  less  good  promise  of  that 


X. 


INTRODUCTION 


analytical  dash  which  he  was  subsequently  to  manifest. 
After  Armance  come  the  well-known  Promenades 
Rome,  while  the  Stendhalian  masterpiece  Le  Rouge  et 
Le  Noir  was  presented  in  1830  to  an  unappreciative 
public. 

Enthusiasm  for  this  book  is  the  infallible  test  of  your 
true  Stendhalian.  Some  critics  may  prefer,  possibly, 
the  more  Jamesian  delicacy  of  Armance,  and  others 
fortified  by  the  example  of  Goethe  may  avow  their 
predilection  for  The  Chartreuse  de  Parme  with  all  the 
jeune  premier  charm  of  its  amiable  hero.  But  in  our 
view  no  book  by  Stendhal  is  capable  of  giving  the 
reader  such  intellectual  thrills  as  that  work  which  has 
been  adjudged  to  be  his  greatest  by  Balzac,  by  Taine, 
by  Bourget.  Certainly  no  other  book  by  Stendal  than 
that  which  has  conjured  up  Rougistes  in  all  countries  in 
Europe  has  been  the  object  of  a  cult  in  itself.  We 
doubt,  moreover,  if  there  is  any  other  modern  book 
whether  by  Stendhal  or  any  one  else,  which  has  actually 
been  learnt  by  heart  by  its  devotees,  who,  if  we  may 
borrow  the  story  told  by  M.  Paul  Bourget,  are  ac- 
customed to  challenge  the  authenticity  of  each  other's 
knowledge  by  starting  off  with  some  random  passage 
only  to  find  it  immediately  taken  up,  as  though  the 
book  had  been  the  very  Bible  itself. 

The  more  personal  appeal  of  what  is  perhaps  the 
greatest  romance  of  the  intellect  ever  written  lies  in 
the  character  of  Julien,  its  villain-hero.  In  view  of  the 
identification  of  Julien  with  Stendal  himself  to  which 
we  have  already  alluded,  it  is  only  fair  to  state  that 
Stendhal  does  not  appear  to  have  ever  been  a  tutor  in 
a  bourgeois  family,  nor  does  history  relate  his  ever 
having  made  any  attempt  at  the  homicide  of  a  woman. 


INTRODUCTION  xi. 

So  far,  in  fact,  as  what  we  may  call  the  external  physical 
basis  of  the  story  is  concerned,  the  material  is  supplied 
not  by  the  life  of  the  author,  but  by  the  life  of  a  young 
student  of  Besancon,  of  the  name  of  Berthet,  who  duly 
expiated  on  the  threshold  that  crime  which  supplied  the 
plot  of  this  immortal  novel.  But  the  soul,  the  brain  of 
Julien  is  not  Berthet  but  Beyle.  And  what  indeed  is 
the  whole  book  if  not  a  vindication  of  beylisme,  if  we 
may  use  the  word,  coined  by  the  man  himself  for  his 
own  outlook  on  life  ?  For  the  procedure  of  Stendhal 
would  seem  to  have  placed  his  own  self  in  his  hero's 
shoes,  to  have  lived  in  imagination  his  whole  life,  and  to 
have  recorded  his  experience  with  a  wealth  of  analytic 
detail,  which  in  spite  of  some  arrogance,  is  yet  both 
honest  and  scientific. 

And  the  life  of  this  scoundrel,  this  ingrate,  this  assassin, 
certainly  seems  to  have  been  eminently  worth  living. 
In  its  line,  indeed,  it  constitutes  a  veritable  triumph  of 
idealism,  a  positive  monument  of  "  self-help."  For 
judged  by  the  code  of  the  Revolution,  when  the  career 
was  open  to  talents,  the  goodness  or  badness  of  a  man 
was  determined  by  the  use  he  made  of  his  opportunities. 
Efficiency  was  the  supreme  test  of  virtue,  as  was  failure 
the  one  brand  of  unworthiness.  And  measured  by  these 
values  Julien  ranks  high  as  an  ethical  saint.  For  does 
he  not  sacrifice  everything  to  the  forgiving  of  his  char- 
acter and  the  hammering  out  of  his  career  ?  He  is  by 
nature  nervous,  he  forces  himself  to  be  courageous, 
fighting  a  duel  or  capturing  a  woman,  less  out  of  thirst 
for  blood  or  hunger  for  flesh,  than  because  he  thinks  it 
due  to  his  own  parvenu  self-respect  to  give  himself 
some  concrete  proof  on  his  own  moral  force.  "  Pose 
and  affection  "  will  sneer  those  enemies  whom  he  will 


xii.  INTRODUCTION 

have  to-day  as  assuredly  as  he  had  them  in  his  lifetime, 
the  smug  bourgeois  and  Valenods  of  our  present  age. 
But  the  spirit  of  Julien  will  retort,  "  I  made  myself 
master  of  my  affectation  and  I  succeeded  in  my  pose." 
And  will  he  not  have  logic  on  his  side  ?  For  what  after 
all  is  pose  but  the  pursuit  of  a  subjective  ideal,  grotesque 
no  doubt  in  failure,  but  dignified  by  its  success.  And 
as  M.  Gaultier  has  shown  in  his  book  on  Bovarysme,  is 
not  all  human  progress  simply  the  deliberate  change 
from  what  one  is,  into  what  one  is  not  yet,  but  what 
nevertheless  one  has  a  tendency  to  be  ?  Viewed  from 
this  standpoint  Julien's  character  is  what  one  feels 
justified  in  calling  a  bond  fide  pose.  For  speaking 
broadly  his  character  is  two-fold,  half-sensitive  tender- 
ness, half  ferocious  ambition,  and  his  pose  simply  con- 
sists in  the  subordination  of  his  softer  qualities  for  the 
more  effective  realization  of  his  harder.  Considered 
on  these  lines  Le  Rouge  et  Le  Noir  stands  pre- 
eminent in  European  literature  as  the  tragedy  of  energy 
and  ambition,  the  epic  of  the  struggle  for  existence,  the 
modern  Bible  of  Nietzchean  self-discipline.  And  from 
the  sheer  romantic  aspect  also  the  book  has  its  own 
peculiar  charm.  How  truly  poetic,  for  instance,  are  the 
passages  where  Julien  takes  his  own  mind  alone  into 
the  mountains,  plots  out  his  own  fate,  and  symbolizes 
his  own  solitary  life  in  the  lonely  circlings  of  a  predatory 
hawk. 

Julien's  enemies  will  no  doubt  taunt  him  with  his 
introspection,  while  they  point  to  a  character  distorted, 
so  they  say,  by  the  eternal  mirror  of  its  own  conscious- 
ness. Yet  it  should  be  remembered  that  Julien  lived  in 
an  age  when  introspection  had,  so  to  speak,  been  only 
ecently  invented,  and  Byronism  and  Wertherism  were 


INTRODUCTION  xiii. 

the  stock  food  of  artistic  temperaments.  In  the  case  of 
julien,  moreover,  even  though  his  own  criticisms  on  his 
own  acts  were  to  some  extent  as  important  to  him  as 
the  actual  acts  themselves,  his  introspection  was  more 
a  strength  than  a  weakness  and  never  blunted  the  edge 
of  his  drastic  action.  Compare,  for  instance,  the  char- 
acter of  Julien  with  the  character  of  Robert  Greslou, 
the  hero  of  Bourget's  Le  Disciple,  and  the  nearest 
analogue  to  Julien  in  fin  de  siecle  literature,  and  one 
will  appreciate  at  once  the  difference  between  health 
and  decadence,  virility  and  hysteria. 

One  of  the  most  essential  features  of  the  book,  how- 
ever, is  the  swing  of  the  pendulum  between  Julien's 
ambition  and  Julien's  tenderness.  For  our  hunter  is 
quite  frequently  caught  in  his  own  traps,  so  that  he  falls 
genuinely  in  love  with  the  woman  whom,  as  a  matter 
of  abstract  principle,  he  had  specifically  set  himself  to 
conquer.  The  book  consequently  as  a  romance  of 
love,  ranks  almost  as  high  as  it  does  as  a  romance  of 
ambition.  The  final  idyll  in  prison  with  Mme.  de  Renal, 
in  particular,  is  one  of  the  sweetest  and  purest  in 
literature,  painted  in  colours  too  true  ever  to  be  florid, 
steeped  in  a  sentiment  too  deep  ever  to  be  mawkish. 
As  moreover,  orthodox  and  surburban  minds  tend  to 
regard  all  French  novels  as  specifically  devoted  to 
obscene  wallowings,  it  seems  only  relevant  to  mention 
that  Stendhal  at  any  rate  never  finds  in  sensualism  any 
inspiration  for  ecstatic  rhapsodies,  and  that  he  narrates 
the  most  specific  episodes  in  the  chastest  style 
imaginable. 

Though  too  the  sinister  figure  of  the  carpenter's  son 
looms  large  over  the  book,  the  characterization  of  all 
the   other    personages    is   portrayed   with   consummate 


xiv.  INTRODUCTION 

brilliancy.  For  Stendhal  standing  first  outside  his 
characters  with  all  the  sceptical  scrutiny  of  a  detached 
observer,  then  goes  deep  inside  them  so  that  he  de- 
scribes not  merely  what  they  do,  but  why  they  do  it, 
not  merely  what  they  think,  but  why  they  think  it, 
while  he  assigns  their  respective  share  to  innate  dis- 
position, accident,  and  environment,  and  criticizes  his 
creations  with  an  irony  that  is  only  occasionally 
benevolent.  For  it  must  be  confessed  that  Stendhal 
approves  of  extremely  few  people.  True  scion  of  the 
middle-classes  he  hates  the  bourgeois  because  he  is 
bourgeois,  and  the  aristocrat  because  he  is  aristocrat. 
Nevertheless,  as  a  gallery  of  the  most  varied  characters, 
patricians  and  plebeians,  prudes  and  profligates,  Jesuits 
and  Jansenists,  Kings  and  coachmen,  bishops  and 
bourgeois,  whose  mutual  difference  acts  as  a  most 
effective  foil  to  each  other's  reality,  Le  Rouge  et  Le  Noir 
will  beat  any  novel  outside  Balzac. 

We  would  mention  in  particular  those  two  contrasted 
figures,  Mme.  de  R6nal  the  bourgeoise  passionee,  and 
Matilde  de  la  Mole  the  noble  damozel  who  enters  into 
her  intrigue  out  of  a  deliberate  wish  to  emulate  the 
exploits  of  a  romantic  ancestress.  But  after  all  these 
individuals  stand  out  not  so  much  because  their  char- 
acterization is  better  than  that  of  their  fellow-personages, 
but  because  it  is  more  elaborate.  Even  such  minor 
characters,  for  instance,  as  de  Frilair,  the  lascivious 
Jesuit,  Noiraud,  the  avaricious  gaoler,  Mme.  de  Fervaqus, 
the  amoristic  prude,  are  all  in  their  respective  ways  real, 
vivid,  convincing,  no  mere  padded  figures  of  the  im- 
agination, but  observed  actualities  swung  from  the 
lived  life  en  the  written  page. 

The  style  of  Stendhal  is  noticeable  from  its  simplicity, 


INTRODUCTION  xv. 

clear  and  cold,  devoid  of  all  literary  artifice,  characteristic 
of  his  analytic  purpose.  He  is  strenuous  in  his  avoid- 
ance of  affection.  Though,  however,  he  never  holds 
out  his  style  as  an  aesthetic  delight  in  itself,  he  reaches 
occasionally  passages  of  a  rare  and  simple  beauty.  We 
would  refer  in  particular  to  the  description  of  Julien  in 
the  mountains,  which  we  have  already  mentioned,  and 
to  the  short  but  impressive  death  scene.  His  habit, 
however,  of  using  language  as  a  means  and  never  as  an 
end,  occasionally  revenges  itself  upon  him  in  places 
where  the  style,  though  intelligible,  is  none  the  less 
slovenly,  anacoluthic,  almost  Thucydidean. 

After  the  publication  of  Le  Rouge  et  Le  Noir  Stendhal 
was  forced  by  his  financial  embarrassment  to  leave  Paris 
and  take  up  the  post  of  consul  at  Trieste.  Driven  from 
this  position  by  the  intrigues  of  a  vindictive  Church  he 
was  transferred  to  Civita  Vecchia  where  he  remainted  till 
1835,  solacing  his  ennui  by  the  compilation  of  his  auto- 
biography and  thinking  seriously  of  marriage  with  the 
rich  and  highly  respectable  daughter  of  his  laundress. 
He  then  returned  to  Paris  where  he  remained  till  1842, 
where  he  died  suddenly  at  the  age  of  fifty-nine  in  the 
full  swiug  of  all  his  mental  and  physical  activities. 

His  later  works  included,  La  Chartreuse  de  Panne, 
Lucien,  Leuwen  and  Lamiel,  of  which  the  Chartreuse  is 
the  most  celebrated,  but  Lamiel  certainly  the  most 
sprightly.  But  it  is  on  Le  Rouge  et  Le  Noir  that  his 
fame  as  a  novelist  is  the  most  firmly  based.  It  is  with 
this  most  personal  document,  this  record  of  his  ex- 
periences and  emotions  that  he  lives  identified,  just  as 
D'Annunzio  will  live  identified  with  //  Fuoco  or  Mr. 
Wells  with  the  New  Macchiavelli.  Le  Rouge  et  Le  Noir 
js  the  greatest  novel  of  its  age  and  one  of  the  greatest 


xvi.  INTRODUCTION 

novels  of  the  whole  nineteenth  century.     It  is  full  to  the 

brim  of  intellect  and  adventure,  introspection  and  action, 

youth,  romance,  tenderness,  cynicism  and  rebellion.     It 

is    in   a    word    the    intellectual    quintessence    of    the 

Napoleonic  era. 

HORACE   B.  SAMUEL. 
Temple, 
Oct.,  1913. 


The  Red  and  the  Black 

A  CHRONICLE  OF  i83o 

CHAPTER  I 

A    SMALL   TOWN 

Put  thousands  together  less  bad, 
But  the  cage  less  gay.  — Hobbs, 

The  little  town  of  Verrieres  can  pass  for  one  of  the  prettiest 
in  Franche-Comte\  Its  white  houses  with  their  pointed  red- 
tiled  roofs  stretch  along  the  slope  of  a  hill,  whose  slightest 
undulations  are  marked  by  groups  of  vigorous  chestnuts.  The 
Doubs  flows  to  within  some  hundred  feet  above  its  fortifications, 
which  were  built  long  ago  by  the  Spaniards,  and  are  now  in 
ruins. 

Verrieres  is  sheltered  on  the  north  by  a  high  mountain 
which  is  one  of  the  branches  of  the  Jura.  The  jagged  peaks 
of  the  Verra  are  covered  with  snow  from  the  beginning  of  the 
October  frosts.  A  torrent  which  rushes  down  from  the 
mountains  traverses  Verrieres  before  throwing  itself  into  the 
Doubs,  and  supplies  the  motive  power  for  a  great  number  of 
saw  mills.  The  industry  is  very  simple,  and  secures  a  certain 
prosperity  to  the  majority  of  the  inhabitants  who  are  more 
peasant  than  bourgeois.  It  is  not,  however,  the  wood  saws 
which  have  enriched  this  little  town.  It  is  the  manufacture  of 
painted  tiles,  called  Mulhouse  tiles,  that  is  responsible  for 
that  general  affluence  which  has  caused  the  facades  of  nearly 
all  the  houses  in  Verrieres  to  be  rebuilt  since  the  fall  of 
Napoleon. 

One  has  scarcely  entered  the  town,  before  one  is  stunned 

i 


2  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

by  the  din  of  a  strident  machine  of  terrifying  aspect. 
Twenty  heavy  hammers  which  fall  with  a  noise  that  makes 
the  paved  floor  tremble,  are  lifted  up  by  a  wheel  set  in 
motion  by  the  torrent.  Each  of  these  hammers  manufactures 
every  day  I  don't  know  how  many  thousands  of  nails. 
The  little  pieces  of  iron  which  are  rapidly  transformed  into 
nails  by  these  enormous  hammers,  are  put  in  position  by 
fresh  pretty  young  girls.  This  labour  so  rough  at  first  sight  is 
one  of  the  industries  which  most  surprises  the  traveller  who 
penetrates  for  the  first  time  the  mountains  which  separate 
France  and  Helvetia.  If  when  he  enters  Verrieres,  the  traveller 
asks  who  owns  this  fine  nail  factory  which  deafens  everybody 
who  goes  up  the  Grande-Rue,  he  is  answered  in  a  drawling  tone 
"Eh  I  it  belongs  to  M.  the  Mayor." 

And  if  the  traveller  stops  a  few  minutes  in  that  Grande- 
Rue  of  Verrieres  which  goes  on  an  upward  incline  from  the 
bank  of  the  Doubs  to  nearly  as  far  as  the  summit  of  the  hill, 
it  is  a  hundred  to  one  that  he  will  see  a  big  man  with  a  busy 
and  important  air. 

When  he  comes  in  sight  all  hats  are  quickly  taken  off. 
His  hair  is  grizzled  and  he  is  dressed  in  grey.  He  is  a  Knight 
of  several  Orders,  has  a  large  forehead  and  an  aquiline  nose, 
and  if  you  take  him  all  round,  his  features  are  not  devoid  of 
certain  regularity.  One  might  even  think  on  the  first 
inspection  that  it  combines  with  the  dignity  of  the  village 
mayor  that  particular  kind  of  comfortableness  which  is 
appropriate  to  the  age  of  forty-eight  or  fifty.  But  soon  the 
traveller  from  Paris  will  be  shocked  by  a  certain  air  of  self- 
satisfaction  and  self-complacency  mingled  with  an  almost 
indefinable  narrowness  and  lack  of  inspiration.  One  realises 
at  last  that  this  man's  talent  is  limited  to  seeing  that  he  is 
paid  exactly  what  he  is  owed,  and  in  paying  his  own  debts 
at  the  latest  possible  moment. 

Such  is  M.  de  Renal,  the  mayor  of  Verrieres.  After  having 
crossed  the  road  with  a  solemn  step,  he  enters  the  mayoral 
residence  and  disappears  from  the  eye  of  the  traveller.  But 
if  the  latter  continues  to  walk  a  hundred  steps  further  up,  he 
will  perceive  a  house  with  a  fairly  fine  appearance,  with  some 
magnificent  gardens  behind  an  iron  grill  belonging  to  the 
house.  Beyond  that  is  an  horizon  line  formed  by  the  hills 
of  Burgundy,  which  seem  ideally  made  to  delight  the  eyes. 


A  SMALL  TOWN  3 

This  view  causes  the  traveller  to  forget  that  pestilential 
atmosphere  of  petty  money-grubbing  by  which  he  is  beginning 
to  be  suffocated. 

He  is  told  that  this  house  belongs  to  M.  de  Renal.  It  is 
to  the  profits  which  he  has  made  out  of  his  big  nail  factory  that 
the  mayor  of  Verrieres  owes  this  fine  residence  of  hewn  stone 
which  he  is  just  finishing.  His  family  is  said  to  be  Spanish 
and  ancient,  and  is  alleged  to  have  been  established  in  the 
country  well  before  the  conquest  of  Louis  XIV. 

Since  1815,  he  blushes  at  being  a  manufacturer:  1815 
made  him  mayor  of  Verrieres.  The  terraced  walls  of  this 
magnificent  garden  which  descends  to  the  Doubs,  plateau  by 
plateau,  also  represent  the  reward  of  M.  de  Renal's  proficiency 
in  the  iron-trade.  Do  not  expect  to  find  in  France  those 
picturesque  gardens  which  surround  the  manufacturing  towns 
of  Germany,  like  Leipsic,  Frankfurt  and  Nurenburgh,  etc.  The 
more  walls  you  build  in  Franche-Comte  and  the  more  you 
fortify  your  estate  with  piles  of  stone,  the  more  claim  you  will 
acquire  on  the  respect  of  your  neighbours.  Another  reason 
for  the  admiration  due  to  M.  de  Renal's  gardens  and  their 
numerous  walls,  is  the  fact  that  he  has  purchased,  through 
sheer  power  of  the  purse,  certain  small  parcels  of  the  ground 
on  which  they  stand.  That  saw-mill,  for  instance,  whose 
singular  position  on  the  banks  of  the  Doubs  struck  you  when 
you  entered  Verrieres,  and  where  you  notice  the  name  of 
SOREL  written  in  gigantic  characters  on  the  chief  beam  of  the 
roof,  used  to  occupy  six  years  ago  that  precise  space  on  which 
is  now  reared  the  wall  of  the  fourth  terrace  in  M.  de  Renal's 
gardens. 

Proud  man  that  he  was,  the  mayor  had  none  the  less  to 
negotiate  with  that  tough,  stubborn  peasant,  old  Sorel.  He 
had  to  pay  him  in  good  solid  golden  louis  before  he  could 
induce  him  to  transfer  his  workshop  elsewhere.  As  to  the 
public  stream  which  supplied  the  motive  power  for  the  saw- 
mill, M.  de  Renal  obtained  its  diversion,  thanks  to  the 
influence  which  he  enjoyed  at  Paris.  This  favour  was 
accorded  him  after  the  election  of  182 — . 

He  gave  Sorel  four  acres  for  every  one  he  had  previously 
held,  five  hundred  yards  lower  down  on  the  banks  of  the 
Doubs.  Although  this  position  was  much  more  advantageous 
for  his  pine-plank  trade,  father  Sorel  (as  he  is  called  since  he 


4  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

has  become  rich)  knew  how  to  exploit  the  impatience  and 
mania  for  landed  ownership  which  animated  his  neighbour 
to  the  tune  of  six  thousand  francs. 

It  is  true  that  this  arrangement  was  criticised  by  the  wise- 
acres of  the  locality.  One  day,  it  was  on  a  Sunday  four  years 
later,  as  M.  de  Renal  was  coming  back  from  church  in  his 
mayor's  uniform,  he  saw  old  Sorel  smiling  at  him,  as  he 
stared  at  him  some  distance  away  surrounded  by  his  three 
sons.  That  smile  threw  a  fatal  flood  of  light  into  the  soul 
of  the  mayor.  From  that  time  on,  he  is  of  opinion  that  he 
could  have  obtained  the  exchange  at  a  cheaper  rate. 

In  order  to  win  the  public  esteem  of  Verrieres  it  is  essential 
that,  though  you  should  build  as  many  walls  as  you  can,  you 
should  not  adopt  some  plan  imported  from  Italy  by  those 
masons  who  cross  the  passes  of  the  Jura  in  the  spring  on 
their  way  to  Paris.  Such  an  innovation  would  bring  down 
upon  the  head  of  the  imprudent  builder  an  eternal  reputation 
for  wrongheadedness,  and  he  will  be  lost  for  ever  in  the  sight 
of  those  wise,  well-balanced  people  who  dispense  public  esteem 
in  Franche-Comte. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  these  prudent  people  exercise  in  the 
place  the  most  offensive  despotism.  It  is  by  reason  of  this 
awful  word,  that  anyone  who  has  lived  in  that  great  republic 
which  is  called  Paris,  finds  living  in  little  towns  quite 
intolerable.  The  tyranny  of  public  opinion  (and  what  public 
opinion  !)  is  as  stupid  in  the  little  towns  of  France  as  in  the 
United  States  of  America. 


CHAPTER  II 


A    MAYOR 


Importance  !  What  is  it,  sir  after  all  ?  The  respect  of 
fools,  the  wonder  of  children,  the  envy  of  the  rich,  the 
contempt  of  the  wise  man. — Bamavt 

Happily  for  the  reputation  of  M.  de  Renal  as  an  administrator 
an  immense  wall  of  support  was  necessary  for  the  public 
promenade  which  goes  along  the  hill,  a  hundred  steps  above 
the  course  of  the  Doubs.  This  admirable  position  secures 
for  the  promenade  one  of  the  most  picturesque  views  in  the 
whole  ot  France.  But  the  rain  water  used  to  make  furrows 
in  the  walk  every  spring,  caused  ditches  to  appear,  and 
rendered  it  generally  impracticable.  This  nuisance,  which 
was  felt  by  the  whole  town,  put  M.  de  Renal  in  the  happy 
position  of  being  compelled  to  immortalise  his  administration 
by  building  a  wall  twenty  feet  high  and  thirty  to  forty  yards 
long. 

The  parapet  of  this  wall,  which  occasioned  M.  de  Renal  three 
journeys  to  Paris  (for  the  last  Minister  of  the  Interior  but  one 
had  declared  himself  the  mortal  enemy  of  the  promenade  of 
Verrieres),  is  now  raised  to  a  height  of  four  feet  above  the 
ground,  and  as  though  to  defy  all  ministers  whether  past 
or  present,  it  is  at  present  adorned  with  tiles  of  hewn 
stone. 

How  many  times  have  my  looks  plunged  into  the  valley  of 
the  Doubs,  as  I  thought  of  the  Paris  balls  which  I  had 
abandoned  on  the  previous  night,  and  leant  my  breast  against 
the  great  blocks  of  stone,  whose  beautiful  grey  almost  verged 
on  blue.  Beyond  the  left  bank,  there  wind  five  or  six  valleys, 
at  the  bottom  of  which  I  could  see  quite  distinctly  several 
small  streams.      There   is   a  view  of  them  falling  into  the 


6  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Doubs,  after  a  series  of  cascades.  The  sun  is  very  warm  in 
these  mountains.  When  it  beats  straight  down,  the  pensive 
traveller  on  the  terrace  finds  shelter  under  some  magnificent 
plane  trees.  They  owe  their  rapid  growth  and  their  fine  verdure 
with  its  almost  bluish  shade  to  the  new  soil,  which  M.  the 
mayor  has  had  placed  behind  his  immense  wall  of  support  for 
(in  spite  of  the  opposition  of  the  Municipal  Council)  he  has 
enlarged  the  promenade  by  more  than  six  feet  (and  although 
he  is  an  Ultra  and  I  am  a  Liberal,  I  praise  him  for  it),  and 
that  is  why  both  in  his  opinion  and  in  that  of  M.  Valenod, 
the  fortunate  Director  of  the  workhouse  of  Verrieres,  this 
terrace  can  brook  comparison  with  that  of  Saint-Germain  en 
Laye. 

I  find  personally  only  one  thing  at  which  to  cavil  in  the 
COURS  DE  LA  FIDELITE,  (this  official  name  is  to  be 
read  in  fifteen  to  twenty  places  on  those  immortal  tiles  which 
earned  M.  de  Renal  an  extra  cross.)  The  grievance  I  find  in 
the  Cours  de  la  Fidelite  is  the  barbarous  manner  in  which  the 
authorities  have  cut  these  vigorous  plane  trees  and  clipped 
them  to  the  quick.  In  fact  they  really  resemble  with  their 
dwarfed,  rounded  and  flattened  heads  the  most  vulgar  plants 
of  the  vegetable  garden,  while  they  are  really  capable  of 
attaining  the  magnificent  development  of  the  English  plane 
trees.  But  the  wish  of  M.  the  mayor  is  despotic,  and  all  the 
trees  belonging  to  the  municipality  are  ruthlessly  pruned  twice 
a  year.  The  local  Liberals  suggest,  but  they  are  probably 
exaggerating,  that  the  hand  of  the  official  gardener  has 
become  much  more  severe,  since  M.  the  Vicar  Maslon  started 
appropriating  the  clippings.  This  young  ecclesiastic  was  sent 
to  Besancon  some  years  ago  to  keep  watch  on  the  abbe 
Chelan  and  some  cures  in  the  neighbouring  districts.  An 
old  Surgeon-Major  of  Napoleon's  Italian  Army,  who  was 
living  in  retirement  at  Verrieres,  and  who  had  been  in  his 
time  described  by  M.  the  mayor  as  both  a  Jacobin  and  a 
Bonapartiste,  dared  to  complain  to  the  mayor  one  day  of  the 
periodical  mutilation  of  these  fine  trees. 

"  I  like  the  shade,"  answered  M.  de  Renal,  with  just  a  tinge 
of  that  hauteur  which  becomes  a  mayor  when  he  is  talking  to  a 
surgeon,  who  is  a  member  of  the  Legion  of  Honour.  "  I  like 
the  shade,  I  have  my  trees  clipped  in  order  to  give  shade,  and 
I  cannot  conceive  that  a  tree  can  have  any  other  purpose, 


A  MAYOR  7 

provided  of  course  it  is  not  bringing  in  any  profit,  like  the 
useful  walnut  tree." 

This  is  the  great  word  which  is  all  decisive  at  Verrieres. 
"BRINGING  IN  PROFIT,"  this  word  alone  sums  up  the 
habitual  trend  of  thought  of  more  than  three-quarters  of  the 
inhabitants. 

Bringing  in  profit  is  the  consideration  which  decides  every- 
thing in  this  little  town  which  you  thought  so  pretty.  The 
stranger  who  arrives  in  the  town  is  fascinated  by  the  beauty  of 
the  fresh  deep  valleys  which  surround  it,  and  he  imagines  at 
first  that  the  inhabitants  have  an  appreciation  of  the  beautiful. 
They  talk  only  too  frequently  of  the  beauty  of  their  country, 
and  it  cannot  be  denied  that  they  lay  great  stress  on  it,  but 
the  reason  is  that  it  attracts  a  number  of  strangers,  whose 
money  enriches  the  inn-keepers,  a  process  which  brings  in 
profit  to  the  town,  owing  to  the  machinery  of  the  octroi. 

It  was  on  a  fine,  autumn  day  that  M.  de  Renal  was  taking 
a  promenade  on  the  Cours  de  la  Fidelite  with  his  wife  on  his 
arm.  While  listening  to  her  husband  (who  was  talking  in  a 
somewhat  solemn  manner)  Madame  de  Renal  followed 
anxiously  with  her  eyes  the  movements  of  three  little  boys. 
The  eldest,  who  might  have  been  eleven  years  old,  went  too 
frequently  near  the  parapet  and  looked  as  though  he  was 
going  to  climb  up  it.  A  sweet  voice  then  pronounced  the 
name  of  Adolphe  and  the  child  gave  up  his  ambitious  project. 
Madame  de  Renal  seemed  a  woman  of  thirty  years  of  age  but 
still  fairly  pretty. 

"  He  may  be  sorry  for  it,  may  this  fine  gentleman  from 
Paris,"  said  M.  de  Renal,  with  an  offended  air  and  a  face 
even  paler  than  usual.  "  I  am  not  without  a  few  friends  at 
court !  "  But  though  I  want  to  talk  to  you  about  the  provinces 
for  two  hundred  pages,  I  lack  the  requisite  barbarity  to  make 
you  undergo  all  the  long-windedness  and  circtimlocutions  of  a 
provincial  dialogue. 

This  fine  gentleman  from  Paris,  who  was  so  odious  to  the 
mayor  of  Verrieres,  was  no  other  than  the  M.  Appert,  who 
had  two  days  previously  managed  to  find  his  way  not  only  into 
the  prison  and  workhouse  of  Verrieres,  but  also  into  the 
hospital,  which  was  gratuitously  conducted  by  the  mayor  and 
the  principal  proprietors  of  the  district. 

"  But,"  said  Madame  de  Renal  timidly,  "  what  harm  can 


8  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

this  Paris  gentleman  do  you,  since  you  administer  the  poor 
fund  with  the  utmost  scrupulous  honesty  ?" 

"  He  only  comes  to  throw  blame  and  afterwards  he  will  get 
some  articles  into  the  Liberal  press." 

"  You  never  read  them,  my  dear." 

"  But  they  always  talk  to  us  about  those  Jacobin  articles,  all 
that  distracts  us  and  prevents  us  from  doing  good.*  Personally, 
I  shall  never  forgive  the  cure." 


Historically  true. 


CHAPTER  III 

THE   POOR    FUND 

A  virtuous  cure  who  does  not  intrigue  is  a  providence 
for  the  village. — Fkury 

It  should  be  mentioned  that  the  cure  of  Verrieres,  an  old 
man  of  ninety,  who  owed  to  the  bracing  mountain  air  an  iron 
constitution  and  an  iron  character,  had  the  right  to  visit  the 
prison,  the  hospital  and  the  workhouse  at  any  hour.  It  had 
been  at  precisely  six  o'clock  in  the  morning  that  M.  Appert, 
who  had  a  Paris  recommendation  to  the  cure,  had  been 
shrewd  enough  to  arrive  at  a  little  inquisitive  town.  He  had 
immediately  gone  on  to  the  cure's  house. 

The  cure  Chelan  became  pensive  as  he  read  the  letter 
written  to  him  by  the  M.  le  Marquis  de  La  Mole,  Peer  of 
France,  and  the  richest  landed  proprietor  of  the  province. 

"  I  am  old  and  beloved  here,"  he  said  to  himself  in  a 
whisper,  "  they  would  not  dare  ! "  Then  he  suddenly  turned 
to  the  gentleman  from  Paris,  with  eyes,  which  in  spite  of  his 
great  age,  shone  with  that  sacred  fire  which  betokens  the 
delight  of  doing  a  fine  but  slightly  dangerous  act. 

"  Come  with  me,  sir,"  he  said,  "  but  please  do  not  express 
any  opinion  of  the  things  which  we  shall  see,  in  the  presence 
of  the  jailer,  and  above  all  not  in  the  presence  of  the 
superintendents  of  the  workhouse." 

M.  Appert  realised  that  he  had  to  do  with  a  man  of  spirit. 
He  followed  the  venerable  cure,  visited  the  hospital  and 
workhouse,  put  a  lot  of  questions,  but  in  spite  of  somewhat 
extraordinary  answers,  did  not  indulge  in  the  slightest 
expression  of  censure. 

This  visit  lasted  several  hours ;  the  cure  invited  M.  Appert 
to  dine,  but  the  latter  made  the  excuse  of  having  some  letters 


io  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

to  write ;  as  a  matter  of  fact,  he  did  not  wish  to  compromise 
his  generous  companion  to  any  further  extent.  About  three 
o'clock  these  gentlemen  went  to  finish  their  inspection  of 
the  workhouse  and  then  returned  to  the  prison.  There  they 
found  the  jailer  by  the  gate,  a  kind  of  giant,  six  feet  high, 
with  bow  legs.  His  ignoble  face  had  become  hideous  by 
reason  of  his  terror. 

"  Ah,  monsieur,"  he  said  to  the  cure  as  soon  as  he  saw  him, 
"  is  not  the  gentleman  whom  I  see  there,  M.  Appert  ?  " 

"  What  does  that  matter  ?  "  said  the  cure. 

"The  reason  is  that  I  received  yesterday  the  most  specific 
orders,  and  M.  the  Prefect  sent  a  message  by  a  gendarme  who 
must  have  galloped  during  the  whole  of  the  night,  that  M. 
Appert  was  not  to  be  allowed  in  the  prisons." 

"  I  can  tell  you,  M.  Noiroud,"  said  the  cure,  "  that  the 
traveller  who  is  with  me  is  M.  Appert,  but  do  you  or  do  you 
not  admit  that  I  have  the  right  to  enter  the  prison  at  any 
hour  of  the  day  or  night  accompanied  by  anybody  I  choose  ?  " 

"  Yes,  M.  the  cure,"  said  the  jailer  in  a  low  voice, 
lowering  his  head  like  a  bull-dog,  induced  to  a  grudging 
obedience  by  fear  of  the  stick,  ' '  only,  M.  the  cure,  I  have  a 
wife  and  children,  and  shall  be  turned  out  if  they  inform 
against  me.     I  only  have  my  place  to  live  on." 

"  I,  too,  should  be  sorry  enough  to  lose  mine,"  answered 
the  good  cure,  with  increasing  emotion  in  his  voice. 

"  What  a  difference  ! "  answered  the  jailer  keenly.  "  As  for 
you,  M.  le  cure,  we  all  know  that  you  have  eight  hundred 
francs  a  year,  good  solid  money." 

Such  were  the  facts  which,  commented  upon  and  exaggerated 
in  twenty  different  ways,  had  been  agitating  for  the  last  two 
days  all  the  odious  passions  of  the  little  town  of  Verrieres. 

At  the  present  time  they  served  as  the  text  for  the  little 
discussion  which  M.  de  Renal  was  having  with  his  wife.  He 
had  visited  the  cure  earlier  in  the  morning  accompanied  by 
M  Valenod,  the  director  of  the  workhouse,  in  order  to  convey 
their  most  emphatic  displeasure.  M.  Chelan  had  no  protector, 
and  felt  all  the  weight  of  their  words. 

"  Well,  gentlemen,  I  shall  be  the  third  cure  of  eighty  years 
of  age  who  has  been  turned  out  in  this  district.  I  have  been 
here  for  fifty-six  years.  I  have  baptized  nearly  all  the  inhabitants 
of  the  town,  which  was  only  a  hamlet  when  I  came   to  it 


THE  POOR  FUND  n 

Every  day  I  marry  young  people  whose  grandparents  I  have 
married  in  days  gone  by.  Verrieres  is  my  family,  but  I  said 
to  myself  when  I  saw  the  stranger,  '  This  man  from  Paris  may 
as  a  matter  of  fact  be  a  Liberal,  there  are  only  too  many  of 
them  about,  but  what  harm  can  he  do  to  our  poor  and  to  our 
prisoners  ? ' " 

The  reproaches  of  M.  de  Renal,  and  above  all,  those  of  M. 
Valenod,  the  director  of  the  workhouse,  became  more  and 
more  animated. 

"  Well,  gentlemen,  turn  me  out  then,"  the  old  cure 
exclaimed  in  a  trembling  voice ;  "  I  shall  still  continue  to  live 
in  the  district.  As  you  know,  I  inherited  forty-eight  years  ago 
a  piece  of  land  that  brings  in  eight  hundred  francs  a  year ;  I 
shall  live  on  that  income.  I  do  not  save  anything  out  of  my 
living,  gentlemen ;  and  that  is  perhaps  why,  when  you  talk  to 
me  about  it,  I  am  not  particularly  frightened." 

M.  de  Renal  always  got  on  very  well  with  his  wife,  but  he 
did  not  know  what  to  answer  when  she  timidly  repeated  the 
phrase  of  M.  le  cure,  "  What  harm  can  this  Paris  gentleman 
do  the  prisoners  ?  "  He  was  on  the  point  of  quite  losing  his 
temper  when  she  gave  a  cry.  Her  second  son  had  mounted 
the  parapet  of  the  terrace  wall  and  was  running  along  it, 
although  the  wall  was  raised  to  a  height  of  more  than  twenty 
feet  above  the  vineyard  on  the  other  side.  The  fear  of 
frightening  her  son  and  making  him  fall  prevented  Madame 
de  Renal  speaking  to  him.  But  at  last  the  child,  who  was 
smiling  at  his  own  pluck,  looked  at  his  mother,  saw  her  pallor, 
jumped  down  on  to  the  walk  and  ran  to  her.  He  was  well 
scolded. 

This  little  event  changed  the  course  of  the  conversation. 

"  I  really  mean  to  take  Sorel,  the  son  of  the  sawyer,  into  the 
house,"  said  M.  de  Renal ;  "  he  will  look  after  the  children, 
who  are  getting  too  naughty  for  us  to  manage.  He  is  a  young 
priest,  or  as  good  as  one,  a  good  Latin  scholar,  and  will  make 
the  children  get  on.  According  to  the  cure,  he  has  a  steady 
character.  I  will  give  him  three  hundred  francs  a  year  and 
his  board.  I  have  some  doubts  as  to  his  morality,  for  he 
used  to  be  the  favourite  of  that  old  Surgeon-Major,  Member 
of  the  Legion  of  Honour,  who  went  to  board  with  the  Sorels, 
on  the  pretext  that  he  was  their  cousin.  It  is  quite  possible 
that  that  man  was  really  simply  a  secret  agent  of  the  Liberals. 


12  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

He  said  that  the  mountain  air  did  his  asthma  good,  but  that 
is  something  which  has  never  been  proved.  He  has  gone 
through  all  Buonaparte's  campaigns  in  Italy,  and  had 
even,  it  was  said,  voted  against  the  Empire  in  the  plebiscite. 
This  Liberal  taught  the  Sorel  boy  Latin,  and  left  him  a 
number  of  books  which  he  had  brought  with  him.  Of  course, 
in  the  ordinary  way,  I  should  have  never  thought  of  allowing 
a  carpenter's  son  to  come  into  contact  with  our  children,  but 
the  cure  told  me,  the  very  day  before  the  scene  which  has  just 
estranged  us  for  ever,  that  Sorel  has  been  studying  theology 
for  three  years  with  the  intention  of  entering  a  seminary.  He 
is,  consequently,  not  a  Liberal,  and  he  certainly  is  a  good 
Latin  scholar. 

"jThis  arrangement  will  be  convenient  in  more  than  one 
way,"  continued  M.  de  Renal,  looking  at  his  wife  with  a 
diplomatic  air.  "  That  Valenod  is  proud  enough  of  his  two 
fine  Norman  horses  which  he  has  just  bought  for  his  carriage, 
but  he  hasn't  a  tutor  for  his  children." 

"  He  might  take  this  one  away  from  us." 

"You  approve  of  my  plan,  then?"  said  M.  de  Renal, 
thanking  his  wife  with  a  smile  for  the  excellent  idea  which  she 
had  just  had.     "  Well,  that's  settled." 

"  Good  gracious,  my  dear,  how  quickly  you  make  up  your 
mind ! " 

"  It  is  because  I'm  a  man  of  character,  as  the  cure  found 
out  right  enough.  Don't  let  us  deceive  ourselves ;  we  are 
surrounded  by  Liberals  in  this  place.  All  those  cloth  merchants 
are  jealous  of  me,  I  am  certain  of  it ;  two  or  three  are  be- 
coming rich  men.  Well,  I  should  rather  fancy  it  for  them  to 
see  M.  de  Renal's  children  pass  along  the  street  as  they  go  out 
for  their  walk,  escorted  by  their  tutor.  It  will  impress  people. 
My  grandfather  often  used  to  tell  us  that  he  had  a  tutor  when 
he  was  young.  It  may  run  me  into  a  hundred  crowns,  but 
that  ought  to  be  looked  upon  as  an  expense  necessary  tor 
keeping  up  our  position." 

This  sudden  resolution  left  Madame  de  Renal  quite  pensive. 
She  was  a  big,  well-made  woman,  who  had  been  the  beauty  of 
the  country,  to  use  the  local  expression.  She  had  a  certain 
air  of  simplicity  and  youthfulness  in  her  deportment.  This 
naive  grace,  with  its  innocence  and  its  vivacity,  might  even 
have  recalled  to  a  Parisian  some  suggestion  of  the  sweets  he 


THE  POOR  FUND  13 

had  left  behind  him.  If  she  had  realised  this  particular  phase 
of  her  success,  Madame  de  Renal  would  have  been  quite 
ashamed  of  it.  All  coquetry,  all  affectation,  were  absolutely 
alien  to  her  temperament.  M.  Valenod,  the  rich  director  of 
the  workhouse,  had  the  reputation  of  having  paid  her  court, 
a  fact  which  had  cast  a  singular  glamour  over  her  virtue ;  for 
this  M.  Valenod,  a  big  young  man  with  a  square,  sturdy  frame, 
florid  face,  and  big,  black  whiskers,  was  one  of  those  coarse, 
blustering,  and  noisy  people  who  pass  in  the  provinces  for  a 
"  fine  man." 

Madame  de  Renal,  who  had  a  very  shy,  and  apparently  a 
very  uneven  temperament,  was  particularly  shocked  by  M. 
Valenod's  lack  of  repose,  and  by  his  boisterous  loudness.  Her 
aloofness  from  what,  in  the  Verrieres'  jargon,  was  called 
"  having  a  good  time,"  had  earned  her  the  reputation  of  being 
very  proud  of  her  birth.  In  fact,  she  never  thought  about  it, 
but  she  had  been  extremely  glad  to  find  the  inhabitants  of  the 
town  visit  her  less  frequently.  We  shall  not  deny  that  she 
passed  for  a  fool  in  the  eyes  of  their  good  ladies  because 
she  did  not  wheedle  her  husband,  and  allowed  herself  to  miss 
the  most  splendid  opportunities  of  getting  fine  hats  from  Paris 
or  Besancon.  Provided  she  was  allowed  to  wander  in  her 
beautiful  garden,  she  never  complained.  She  was  a  naive 
soul,  who  had  never  educated  herself  up  to  the  point  of 
judging  her  husband  and  confessing  to  herself  that  he  bored 
her.  She  supposed,  without  actually  formulating  the  thought, 
that  there  was  no  greater  sweetness  in  the  relationship  between 
husband  and  wife  than  she  herself  had  experienced.  She 
loved  M.  de  Renal  most  when  he  talked  about  his  projects  for 
their  children.  The  elder  he  had  destined  for  the  army,  the 
second  for  the  law,  and  the  third  for  the  Church.  To  sum 
up,  she  found  M.  de  Renal  much  less  boring  than  all  the  other 
men  of  her  acquaintance. 

This  conjugal  opinion  was  quite  sound.  The  Mayor  of 
Verrieres  had  a  reputation  for  wit,  and  above  all,  a  reputation 
for  good  form,  on  the  strength  of  half-a-dozen  "chestnuts"  which 
he  had  inherited  from  an  uncle.  Old  Captain  de  Renal  had 
served,  before  the  Revolution,  in  the  infantry  regiment  of  M. 
the  Duke  of  Orleans,  and  was  admitted  to  the  Prince's  salons 
when  he  went  to  Paris.  He  had  seen  Madame  de  Montesson, 
the  famous  Madame  de  Genlis,  M.  Ducret,  the  inventor,  of  the 


M  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Palais-Royal.  These  personages  would  crop  up  only  too 
frequently  in  M.  de  Renal's  anecdotes.  He  found  it,  however, 
more  and  more  of  a  strain  to  remember  stories  which  required 
such  delicacy  in  the  telling,  and  for  some  time  past  it  had 
only  been  on  great  occasions  that  he  would  trot  out  his  anec- 
dotes concerning  the  House  of  Orleans.  As,  moreover,  he 
was  extremely  polite,  except  on  money  matters,  he  passed, 
and  justly  so,  for  the  most  aristocratic  personage  in  Verrieres. 


CHAPTER  IV 

A    FATHER    AND   A   SON 

E  sara  mia  colpa 

Se  cosi  e  ?  — Machiazwlli. 

"  My  wife  really  has  a  head  on  her  shoulders,"  said  the  mayor 
of  Verrieres  at  six  o'clock  the  following  morning,  as  he  went 
down  to  the  saw-mill  of  Father  Sorel.  "  It  had  never  occurred 
to  me  that  if  I  do  not  take  little  Abbe  Sorel,  who,  they  say, 
knows  Latin  like  an  angel,  that  restless  spirit,  the  director  of 
the  workhouse,  might  have  the  same  idea  and  snatch  him 
away  from  me,  though  of  course  I  told  her  that  it  had,  in  order 
to  preserve  my  proper  superiority.  And  how  smugly,  to  be 
sure,  would  he  talk  about  his  children's  tutor !  .  .  .  .  The 
question  is,  once  the  tutor's  mine,  shall  he  wear  the  cassock  ?  " 

M.  de  Renal  was  absorbed  in  this  problem  when  he  saw  a 
peasant  in  the  distance,  a  man  nearly  six  feet  tall,  who  since 
dawn  had  apparently  been  occupied  in  measuring  some  pieces 
of  wood  which  had  been  put  down  alongside  the  Doubs  on 
the  towing-path.  The  peasant  did  not  look  particularly 
pleased  when  he  saw  M.  the  Mayor  approach,  as  these  pieces 
of  wood  obstructed  the  road,  and  had  been  placed  there  in 
breach  of  the  rules. 

Father  Sorel  (for  it  was  he)  was  very  surprised,  and  even 
more  pleased  at  the  singular  offer  which  M.  de  Renal  made 
him  for  his  son  Julien.  None  the  less,  he  listened  to  it  with 
that  air  of  sulky  discontent  and  apathy  which  the  subtle  in- 
habitants of  these  mountains  know  so  well  how  to  assume. 
Slaves  as  they  have  been  since  the  time  of  the  Spanish 
Conquest,  they  still  preserve  this  feature,  which  is  also  found 
in  the  character  of  the  Egyptian  fellah. 

Sorel's  answer  was  at  first  simply  a  long-winded  recitation 


16  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

of  all  the  formulas  of  respect  which  he  knew  by  heart.  While 
he  was  repeating  these  empty  words  with  an  uneasy  smile, 
which  accentuated  all  the  natural  disingenuousness,  if  not, 
indeed,  knavishness  of  his  physiognomy,  the  active  mind  of 
the  old  peasant  tried  to  discover  what  reason  could  induce  so 
so  important  a  man  to  take  into  his  house  his  good-for- 
nothing  of  a  son.  He  was  very  dissatisfied  with  Julien,  and  it 
was  for  Julien  that  M.  de  Renal  offered  the  undreamt-of 
salary  of  30ofcs.  a  year,  with  board  and  even  clothing.  This 
latter  claim,  which  Father  Sorel  had  had  the  genius  to  spring 
upon  the  mayor,  had  been  granted  with  equal  suddenness  by 
M.  de  Renal. 

This  demand  made  an  impression  on  the  mayor.  It  is 
clear,  he  said  to  himself,  that  since  Sorel  is  not  beside  himself 
with  delight  over  my  proposal,  as  in  the  ordinary  way  he  ought 
to  be,  he  must  have  had  offers  made  to  him  elsewhere,  and 
whom  could  they  have  come  from,  if  not  from  Valenod.  It  was 
in  vain  that  M.  de  Renal  pressed  Sorel  to  clinch  the  matter 
then  and  there.  The  old  peasant,  astute  man  that  he  was, 
stubbornly  refused  to  do  so.  He  wanted,  he  said,  to  consult 
his  son,  as  if  in  the  provinces,  forsooth,  a  rich  father  consulted  a 
penniless  son  for  any  other  reason  than  as  a  mere  matter  of  form. 

A  water  saw-mill  consists  of  a  shed  by  the  side  of  a  stream. 
The  roof  is  supported  by  a  framework  resting  on  four  large 
timber  pillars.  A  saw  can  be  seen  going  up  and  down  at  a 
height  of  eight  to  ten  feet  in  the  middle  of  the  shed,  while  a 
piece  of  wood  is  propelled  against  this  saw  by  a  very  simple 
mechanism.  It  is  a  wheel  whose  motive-power  is  supplied 
by  the  stream,  which  sets  in  motion  this  double  piece  of 
mechanism,  the  mechanism  of  the  saw  which  goes  up  and 
down,  and  the  mechanism  which  gently  pushes  the  piece  of 
wood  towards  the  saw,  which  cuts  it  up  into  planks. 

Approaching  his  workshop,  Father  Sorel  called  Julien  in 
his  stentorian  voice ;  nobody  answered.  He  only  saw  his 
giant  elder  sons,  who,  armed  with  heavy  axes,  were  cutting  up 
the  pine  planks  which  they  had  to  carry  to  the  saw.  They 
were  engrossed  in  following  exactly  the  black  mark  traced 
on  each  piece  of  wood,  from  which  every  blow  of  their  axes 
threw  off  enormous  shavings.  They  did  not  hear  their  father's 
voice.  The  latter  made  his  way  towards  the  shed.  He 
entered  it  and  looked  in  vain  for  Julien  in  the  place  where  he 


A  FATHER  AND  A  SON  17 

ought  to  have  been  by  the  side  of  the  saw.  He  saw  him  five 
or  six  feet  higher  up,  sitting  astride  one  of  the  rafters  of  the 
roof.  Instead  of  watching  attentively  the  action  of  the 
machinery,  Julien  was  reading.  Nothing  was  more  anti- 
pathetic to  old  Sorel.  He  might  possibly  have  forgiven  Julien 
his  puny  physique,  ill  adapted  as  it  was  to  manual  labour,  and 
different  as  it  was  from  that  of  his  elder  brothers;  but  he 
hated  this  reading  mania.     He  could  not  read  himself. 

It  was  in  vain  that  he  called  Julien  two  or  three  times.  It 
was  the  young  man's  concentration  on  his  book,  rather  than 
the  din  made  by  the  saw,  which  prevented  him  from  hearing 
his  father's  terrible  voice.  At  last  the  latter,  in  spite  of  his 
age,  jumped  nimbly  on  to  the  tree  that  was  undergoing  the 
action  of  the  saw,  and  from  there  on  to  the  cross-bar  that 
supported  the  roof.  A  violent  blow  made  the  book  which 
Julien  held,  go  flying  into  the  stream  ;  a  second  blow  on  the 
head,  equally  violent,  which  took  the  form  of  a  box  on  the  ears, 
made  him  lose  his  balance.  He  was  on  the  point  of  falling 
twelve  or  fifteen  feet  lower  down  into  the  middle  of  the  levers 
of  the  running  machinery  which  would  have  cut  him  to  pieces, 
but  his  father  caught  him  as  he  fell,  in  his  left  hand. 

"  So  that's  it,  is  it,  lazy  bones  !  always  going  to  read  your 
damned  books  are  you,  when  you're  keeping  watch  on  the 
saw  ?  You  read  them  in  the  evening  if  you  want  to,  when 
you  go  to  play  the  fool  at  the  cure's,  that's  the  proper  time." 

Although  stunned  by  the  force  of  the  blow  and  bleeding 
profusely,  Julien  went  back  to  his  official  post  by  the  side  of 
the  saw.  He  had  tears  in  his  eyes,  less  by  reason  of  the 
physical  pain  than  on  account  of  the  loss  of  his  beloved  book. 

"Get  down,  you  beast,  when  I  am  talking  to  you,"  the 
noise  of  the  machinery  prevented  Julien  from  hearing  this 
order.  His  father,  who  had  gone  down  did  not  wish  to  give 
himself  the  trouble  of  climbing  up  on  to  the  machinery  again, 
and  went  to  fetch  a  long  fork  used  for  bringing  down  nuts, 
with  which  he  struck  him  on  the  shoulder.  Julien  had  scarcely 
reached  the  ground,  when  old  Sorel  chased  him  roughly 
in  front  of  him  and  pushed  him  roughly  towards  the  house. 
"  God  knows  what  he  is  going  to  do  with  me,"  said  the 
young  man  to  himself.  As  he  passed,  he  looked  sorrowfully 
into  the  stream  into  which  his  book  had  fallen,  it  was  the 
one  that  he  held  dearest  of  all,  the  Memorial  of  St.  Helena. 

2 


i8  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

He  had  purple  cheeks  and  downcast  eyes.  He  was  a  young 
man  of  eighteen  to  nineteen  years  old,  and  of  puny  appearance, 
with  irregular  but  delicate  features,  and  an  aquiline  nose.  The 
big  black  eyes  which  betokened  in  their  tranquil  moments  a 
temperament  at  once  fiery  and  reflective  were  at  the  present 
moment  animated  by  an  expression  of  the  most  ferocious  hate. 
Dark  chestnut  hair,  which  came  low  down  over  his  brow, 
made  his  forehead  appear  small  and  gave  him  a  sinister  look 
during  his  angry  moods.  It  is  doubtful  if  any  face  out  of 
all  the  innumerable  varieties  of  the  human  physiognomy  was 
ever  distinguished  by  a  more  arresting  individuality. 

A  supple  well-knit  figure,  indicated  agility  rather  than 
strength.  His  air  of  extreme  pensiveness  and  his  great  pallor 
had  given  his  father  the  idea  that  he  would  not  live,  or  that 
if  he  did,  it  would  only  be  to  be  a  burden  to  his  family.  The 
butt  of  the  whole  house,  he  hated  his  brothers  and  his  father. 
He  was  regularly  beaten  in  the  Sunday  sports  in  the  public 
square. 

A  little  less  than  a  year  ago  his  pretty  face  had  begun 
to  win  him  some  sympathy  among  the  young  girls.  Univer- 
sally despised  as  a  weakling,  Julien  had  adored  that  old 
Surgeon-Major,  who  had  one  day  dared  to  talk  to  the  mayor 
on  the  subject  of  the  plane  trees. 

This  Surgeon  had  sometimes  paid  Father  Sorel  for  taking 
his  son  for  a  day,  and  had  taught  him  Latin  and  History,  that 
is  to  say  the  1796  Campaign  in  Italy  which  was  all  the 
history  he  knew.  When  he  died,  he  had  bequeathed  his 
Cross  of  the  Legion  of  Honour,  his  arrears  of  half  pay,  and 
thirty  or  forty  volumes,  of  which  the  most  precious  had  just 
fallen  into  the  public  stream,  which  had  been  diverted  owing 
to  the  influence  of  M.  the  Mayor. 

Scarcely  had  he  entered  the  house,  when  Julien  felt  his 
shoulder  gripped  by  his  father's  powerful  hand ;  he  trembled, 
expecting  some  blows. 

"  Answer  me  without  lying,"  cried  the  harsh  voice  of  the 
old  peasant  in  his  ears,  while  his  hand  turned  him  round  and 
round,  like  a  child's  hand  turns  round  a  lead  soldier.  The  big 
black  eyes  of  Julien  filled  with  tears,  and  were  confronted  by 
the  small  grey  eyes  of  the  old  carpenter,  who  looked  as  if  he 
meant  to  read  to  the  very  bottom  of  his  soul. 


CHAPTER  V 

A    NEGOTIATION 

Cunctando  restituit  rem. — Ennius. 

"  Answer  me  without  lies,  if  you  can,  you  damned  dog,  how 
did  you  get  to  know  Madame  de  Renal  ?  When  did  you  speak 
to  her?" 

"  I  have  never  spoken  to  her,"  answered  Julien,  "  I  have 
only  seen  that  lady  in  church." 

"  You  must  have  looked  at  her,  you  impudent  rascal." 

"  Not  once  !  you  know,  I  only  see  God  in  church,"  answered 
Julien,  with  a  little  hypocritical  air,  well  suited,  so  he  thought, 
to  keep  off  the  parental  claws. 

"  None  the  less  there's  something  that  does  not  meet  the 
eye,"  answered  the  cunning  peasant.  He  was  then  silent  for  a 
moment.  "  But  I  shall  never  get  anything  out  of  you,  you 
damned  hypocrite,"  he  went  on.  "  As  a  matter  of  fact,  I  am 
going  to  get  rid  of  you,  and  my  saw-mill  will  go  all  the  better 
for  it.  You  have  nobbled  the  curate,  or  somebody  else,  who 
has  got  you  a  good  place.  Run  along  and  pack  your  traps, 
and  I  will  take  you  to  M.  de  Renal's,  where  you  are  going  to 
be  tutor  to  his  children." 

"  What  shall  I  get  for  that  ?  " 

•'  Board,  clothing,  and  three  hundred  francs  salary." 

"  I  do  not  want  to  be  a  servant." 

"  Who's  talking  of  being  a  servant,  you  brute,  Do  you  think 
I  want  my  son  to  be  a  servant  ?  " 

"  But  with  whom  shall  I  have  my  meals  ?  " 

This  question  discomforted  old  Sorel,  who  felt  he  might 
possibly  commit  some  imprudence  if  he  went  on  talking.  He 
burst   out   against   Julien,  flung   insult   after   insult   at   him, 


zo  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

accused  him  of  gluttony,  and  left  him  to  go  and  consult  his 
other  sons. 

Julien  saw  them  afterwards,  each  one  leaning  on  his  axe 
and  holding  counsel.  Having  looked  at  them  for  a  long  time, 
Julien  saw  that  he  could  find  out  nothing,  and  went  and 
stationed  himself  on  the  other  side  of  the  saw  in  order  to 
avoid  being  surprised.  He  wanted  to  think  over  this  un- 
expected piece  of  news,  which  changed  his  whole  life,  but  he 
felt  himself  unable  to  consider  the  matter  prudently,  his 
imagination  being  concentrated  in  wondering  what  he  would 
see  in  M.  de  Renal's  fine  mansion. 

"  I  must  give  all  that  up,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  rather  than 
let  myself  be  reduced  to  eating  with  the  servants.  My  father 
would  like  to  force  me  to  it.  I  would  rather  die.  I  have  fifteen 
francs  and  eight  sous  of  savings.  I  will  run  away  to-night ; 
I  will  go  across  country  by  paths  where  there  are  no  gendarmes 
to  be  feared,  and  in  two  days  I  shall  be  at  Besancon.  I  will 
enlist  as  a  soldier  there,  and,  if  necessary,  I  will  cross  into 
Switerzerland.  But  in  that  case,  no  more  advancement,  it 
will  be  all  up  with  my  being  a  priest,  that  fine  career  which 
may  lead  to  anything." 

This  abhorrence  of  eating  with  the  servants  was  not  really 
natural  to  Julien ;  he  would  have  done  things  quite,  if  not 
more,  disagreeable  in  order  to  get  on.  He  derived  this 
repugnance  from  the  Confessions  of  Rousseau.  It  was  the 
only  book  by  whose  help  his  imagination  endeavoured  to  con- 
struct the  world.  The  collection  of  the  Bulletins  of  the  Grand 
Army,  and  the  Memorial  of  St.  Helena  completed  his  Koran. 
He  would  have  died  for  these  three  works.  He  never  believed 
in  any  rther.  To  use  a  phrase  of  the  old  Surgeon-Major,  he 
regarded  all  the  other  books  in  the  world  as  packs  of  lies, 
written  by  rogues  in  order  to  get  on. 

Julien  possessed  both  a  fiery  soul  and  one  of  those  astonish- 
ing memories  which  are  so  often  combined  with  stupidity. 

In  order  to  win  over  the  old  cure  Chelan,  on  whose 
good  grace  he  realized  that  his  future  prospects  depended,  he 
had  learnt  by  heart  the  New  Testament  in  Latin.  He  also 
knew  M.  de  Maistre's  book  on  The  Pope,  and  believed  in  one 
as  little  as  he  did  in  the  other. 

Sorel  and  his  son  avoided  talking  to  each  other  to-day 
as  though  by  mutual  consent.     In  the  evening  Julien  went  to 


A  NEGOTIATION  21 

take  his  theology  lesson  at  the  cure's,  but  he  did  not  consider 
that  it  was  prudent  to  say  anything  to  him  about  the  strange 
proposal  which  had  been  made  to  his  father.  "  It  is  possibly 
a  trap,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  I  must  pretend  that  I  have 
forgotten  all  about  it." 

Early  next  morning,  M.  de  Renal  had  old  Sorel  summoned 
to  him.  He  eventually  arrived,  after  keeping  M.  de  Renal 
waiting  for  an  hour-and-a-half,  and  made,  as  he  entered  the 
room,  a  hundred  apologies  interspersed  with  as  many  bows. 
After  having  run  the  gauntlet  of  all  kinds  of  objections,  Sorel 
was  given  to  understand  that  his  son  would  have  his  meals 
with  the  master  and  mistress  of  the  house,  and  that  he  would 
eat  alone  in  a  room  with  the  children  on  the  days  when  they 
had  company.  The  more  clearly  Sorel  realized  the  genuine 
eagerness  of  M.  the  Mayor,  the  more  difficulties  he  felt  inclined 
to  raise.  Being  moreover  full  of  mistrust  and  astonishment, 
he  asked  to  see  the  room  where  his  son  would  sleep.  It  was 
a  big  room,  quite  decently  furnished,  into  which  the  servants 
were  already  engaged  in  carrying  the  beds  of  the  three 
children. 

This  circumstance  explained  a  lot  to  the  old  peasant.  He 
asked  immediately,  with  quite  an  air  of  assurance,  to  see  the 
suit  which  would  be  given  to  his  son.  M.  de  Renal  opened 
his  desk  and  took  out  one  hundred  francs. 

"Your  son  will  go  to  M.  Durand,  the  draper,  with  this 
money  and  will  get  a  complete  black  suit." 

"  And  even  supposing  I  take  him  away  from  you,"  said  the 
peasant,  who  had  suddenly  forgotten  all  his  respectful  for- 
malities, "  will  he  still  keep  this  black  suit  ?  " 

"  Certainly !  " 

"  Well,"  said  Sorel,  in  a  drawling  voice,  "  all  that  remains  to 
do  is  to  agree  on  just  one  thing,  the  money  which  you  will  give 
him." 

"  What !  "  exclaimed  M.  de  Renal,  indignantly,  "  we  agreed 
on  that  yesterday.  I  shall  give  him  three  hundred  francs,  I 
think  that  is  a  lot,  and  probably  too  much." 

"That  is  your  offer  and  I  do  not  deny  it,"  said  old  Sorel, 
speaking  still  very  slowly;  and  by  a  stroke  of  genius  which 
will  only  astonish  those  who  do  not  know  the  Franche-Comte 
peasants,  he  fixed  his  eyes  on  M.  de  Renal  and  added, 
"  We  shall  get  better  terms  elsewhere." 


22  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

The  Mayor's  face  exhibited  the  utmost  consternation  at 
these  words.  He  pulled  himself  together  however  and  after 
a  cunning  conversation  of  two  hours'  length,  where  every  single 
word  on  both  sides  was  carefully  weighed,  the  subtlety  of  the 
peasant  scored  a  victory  over  the  subtlety  of  the  rich  man, 
whose  livelihood  was  not  so  dependent  on  his  faculty  of 
cunning.  All  the  numerous  stipulations  which  were  to 
regulate  Julien's  new  existence  were  duly  formulated.  Not 
only  was  his  salary  fixed  at  four  hundred  francs,  but  they  were 
to  be  paid  in  advance  on  the  first  of  each  month. 

"  Very  well,  I  will  give  him  thirty-five  francs,"  said  M.  de 
Renal. 

"  I  am  quite  sure,"  said  the  peasant,  in  a  fawning  voice, 
"  that  a  rich,  generous  man  like  the  M.  mayor  would  go  as  far  as 
thirty-six  francs,  to  make  up  a  good  round  sum." 

"  Agreed  !  "  said  M.  de  Renal,  "  but  let  this  be  final."  For 
the  moment  his  temper  gave  him  a  tone  of  genuine  firm- 
ness. The  peasant  saw  that  it  would  not  do  to  go  any 
further. 

Then,  on  his  side,  M.  de  Renal  managed  to  score.  He 
absolutely  refused  to  give  old  Sorel,  who  was  very  anxious  to 
receive  it  on  behalf  of  his  son,  the  thirty-six  francs  for  the  first 
month.  It  had  occurred  to  M.  de  Renal  that  he  would  have 
to  tell  his  wife  the  figure  which  he  had  cut  throughout  these 
negotiations. 

"  Hand  me  back  the  hundred  francs  which  I  gave  you,"  he 
said  sharply.  "  M.  Durand  owes  me  something,  I  will  go 
with  your  son  to  see  about  a  black  cloth  suit." 

After  this  manifestation  of  firmness,  Sorel  had  the  prudence 
to  return  to  his  respectful  formulas ;  they  took  a  good  quarter 
of  an  hour.  Finally,  seeing  that  there  was  nothing  more  to  be 
gained,  he  took  his  leave.  He  finished  his  last  bow  with 
these  words : 

"  I  will  send  my  son  to  the  Chateau."  The  Mayor's  officials 
called  his  house  by  this  designation  when  they  wanted  to 
humour  him. 

When  he  got  back  to  his  workshop,  it  was  in  vain  that  Sorel 
sought  his  son.  Suspicious  of  what  might  happen,  Julien  had 
gone  out  in  the  middle  of  the  night.  He  wished  to  place  his 
Cross  of  the  Legion  of  Honour  and  his  books  in  a  place  of 
safety.     He  had  taken  everything  to  a  young  wood-merchant 


A  NEGOTIATION  23 

named  Fouque,  who  was  a  friend  of  his,  and  who  lived  in  the 
high  mountain  which  commands  Verrieres. 

"  God  knows,  you  damned  lazy  bones,"  said  his  father  to 
him  when  he  re-appeared,  "if  you  will  ever  be  sufficiently 
honourable  to  pay  me  back  the  price  of  your  board  which  I 
have  been  advancing  to  you  for  so  many  years.  Take  your 
rags  and  clear  out  to  M.  the  Mayor's." 

Julien  was  astonished  at  not  being  beaten  and  hastened  to 
leave.  He  had  scarcely  got  out  of  sight  of  his  terrible  father 
when  he  slackened  his  pace.  He  considered  that  it  would 
assist  the  role  played  by  his  hyprocrisy  to  go  and  say  a  prayer 
in  the  church. 

The  word  hypocrisy  surprises  you  ?  The  soul  of  the  peasant 
had  had  to  go  through  a  great  deal  before  arriving  at  this 
horrible  word. 

Julien  had  seen  in  the  days  of  his  early  childhood  certain 
Dragoons  of  the  6th  *  with  long  white  cloaks  and  hats  covered 
with  long  black  plumed  helmets  who  were  returning  from 
Italy,  and  tied  up  their  horses  to  the  grilled  window  of  his 
father's  house.  The  sight  had  made  him  mad  on  the  military 
profession.  Later  on  he  had  listened  with  ecstasy  to  the 
narrations  of  the  battles  of  Lodi,  Areola  and  Rivoli  with  which 
the  old  surgeon-major  had  regaled  him.  He  observed  the 
ardent  gaze  which  the  old  man  used  to  direct  towards  his 
cross. 

But  when  Julien  was  fourteen  years  of  age  they  commenced 
to  build  a  church  at  Verrieres  which,  in  view  of  the  smallness 
of  the  town,  has  some  claim  to  be  called  magnificent.  There 
were  four  marble  columns  in  particular,  the  sight  of  which 
impressed  Julien.  They  became  celebrated  in  the  district 
owing  to  the  mortal  hate  which  they  raised  between  the  Justice 
of  the  Peace  and  the  young  vicar  who  had  been  sent  from 
Besancon  and  who  passed  for  a  spy  of  the  congregation.  The 
Justice  of  the  Peace  was  on  the  point  of  losing  his  place,  so 
said  the  public  opinion  at  any  rate.  Had  he  not  dared  to  have 
a  difference  with  the  priest  who  went  every  fortnight  to  Besan- 
con ;  where  he  saw,  so  they  said,  my  Lord  the  Bishop. 

In  the  meanwhile  the  Justice   of  the  Peace,  who  was  the 


*  The  author  v/as  sub-lieutenant  in  the  6th  Dragoons  in  1800 


24  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

father  of  a  numerous  family,  gave  several  sentences  which 
seemed  unjust :  all  these  sentences  were  inflicted  on  those  of 
the  inhabitants  who  read  the  "  Constitutionel."  The  right 
party  triumphed.  It  is  true  it  was  only  a  question  of  sums  of 
three  or  five  francs,  but  one  of  these  little  fines  had  to  be  paid 
by  a  nail-maker,  who  was  god-father  to  Julien.  This  man 
exclaimed  in  his  anger  "  What  a  change  !  and  to  think  that 
for  more  than  twenty  years  the  Justice  of  the  Peace  has  passed 
for  an  honest  man." 

The  Surgeon-Major,  Julien's  friend,  died.  Suddenly  Julien 
left  off  talking  about  Napoleon.  He  announced  his  intention 
of  becoming  a  priest,  and  was  always  to  be  seen  in  his  father's 
workshop  occupied  in  learning  by  heart  the  Latin  Bible  which 
the  cure  had  lent  him.  The  good  old  man  was  astonished 
at  his  progress,  and  passed  whole  evenings  in  teaching  him 
theology.  In  his  society  Julien  did  not  manifest  other  than 
pious  sentiments.  Who  could  not  possibly  guess  that  beneath 
this  girlish  face,  so  pale  and  so  sweet,  lurked  the  unbreakable 
resolution  to  risk  a  thousand  deaths  rather  than  fail  to  make 
his  fortune.  Making  his  fortune  primarily  meant  to  Julien 
getting  out  of  Verrieres  :  he  abhorred  his  native  country ; 
everything  that  he  saw  there  froze  his  imagination. 

He  had  had  moments  of  exultation  since  his  earliest  child- 
hood. He  would  then  dream  with  gusto  of  being  presented 
one  day  to  the  pretty  women  of  Paris.  He  would  manage  to 
attract  their  attention  by  some  dazzling  feat :  why  should  he 
not  be  loved  by  one  of  them  just  as  Buonaparte,  when  still 
poor,  had  been  loved  by  the  brilliant  Madame  de  Beauharnais. 
For  many  years  past  Julien  had  scarcely  passed  a  single  year 
of  his  life  without  reminding  himself  that  Buonaparte,  the 
obscure  and  penniless  lieutenant,  had  made  himself  master  of 
the  whole  world  by  the  power  of  his  sword.  This  idea 
consoled  him  for  his  misfortune,  which  he  considered  to  be 
great,  and  rendered  such  joyful  moments  as  he  had  doubly 
intense. 

The  building  of  the  church  and  the  sentences  pronounced 
by  the  Justice  of  the  Peace  suddenly  enlightened  him.  An 
idea  came  to  him  which  made  him  almost  mad  for  some  weeks, 
and  finally  took  complete  possession  of  him  with  all  the  magic 
that  a  first  idea  possesses  for  a  passionate  soul  which  believes 
that  it  is  original. 


A  NEGOTIATION  25 

"  At  the  time  when  Buonaparte  got  himself  talked  about, 
France  was  frightened  of  being  invaded  ;  military  distinction 
was  necessary  and  fashionable.  Nowadays,  one  sees  priests 
of  forty  with  salaries  of  100,000  francs,  that  is  to  say,  three 
times  as  much  as  Napoleon's  famous  generals  of  a  division. 
They  need  persons  to  assist  them.  Look  at  that  Justice  of 
the  Peace,  such  a  good  sort  and  such  an  honest  man  up  to  the 
present  and  so  old  too ;  he  sacrifices  his  honour  through  the 
fear  of  incurring  the  displeasure  of  a  young  vicar  of  thirty.  I 
must  be  a  priest." 

On  one  occasion,  in  the  middle  of  his  new-found  piety  (he 
had  already  been  studying  theology  for  two  years),  he  was 
betrayed  by  a  sudden  burst  of  fire  which  consumed  his  soul. 
It  was  at  M.  Chelan's.  The  good  cure  had  invited  him  to 
a  dinner  of  priests,  and  he  actually  let  himself  praise  Napoleon 
with  enthusiasm.  He  bound  his  right  arm  over  his  breast, 
pretending  that  he  had  dislocated  it  in  moving  a  trunk  of  a 
pine-tree  and  carried  it  for  two  months  in  that  painful  position. 
After  this  painful  penance,  he  forgave  himself.  This  is  the 
young  man  of  eighteen  with  a  puny  physique,  and  scarcely 
looking  more  than  seventeen  at  the  outside,  who  entered  the 
magnificent  church  of  Verrieres  carrying  a  little  parcel  under 
his  arm. 

He  found  it  gloomy  and  deserted.  All  the  transepts  in  the 
building  had  been  covered  with  crimson  cloth  in  celebration 
of  a  feast.  The  result  was  that  the  sun's  rays  produced  an 
effect  of  dazzling  light  of  the  most  impressive  and  religious 
character.  Julien  shuddered.  Finding  himself  alone  in  the 
church,  he  established  himself  in  the  pew  which  had  the  most 
magnificent  appearance.     It  bore  the  arms  of  M.  de  Renal. 

Julien  noticed  a  piece  of  printed  paper  spread  out  on  the 
stool,  which  was  apparently  intended  to  be  read,  he  cast  his 
eyes  over  it  and  saw  : — "  Details  of  the  execution  and  the 
last  moments  of  Louis  Jenrel,  executed  at  Besan^on  the  .  .  ." 
The  paper  was  torn.  The  two  first  words  of  a  line  were 
legible  on  the  back,  they  were,  "  The  First  Step." 

"  Who  could  have  put  this  paper  there  ? "  said  Julien. 
"  Poor  fellow  !  "  he  added  with  a  sigh,  "  the  last  syllable  of  his 
name  is  the  same  as  mine,"  and  he  crumpled  up  the  paper. 
As  he  left,  Julien  thought  he  saw  blood  near  the  Host,  it  was 
holy  water  which  the  priests  had  been  sprinkling  on  it,  the  re- 


26  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

flection  of  the  red  curtains  which  covered  the  windows  made  it 
look  like  blood. 

Finally,  Julien  felt  ashamed  of  his  secret  terror.  "  Am  I 
going  to  play  the  coward,"  he  said  to  himself:  "  To  Arms!" 
This  phrase,  repeated  so  often  in  the  old  Surgeon-Major's 
battle  stories,  symbolized  heroism  to  Julien.  He  got  up 
rapidly  and  walked  to  M.  de  Renal's  house.  As  soon  as  he 
saw  it  twenty  yards  in  front  of  him  he  was  seized,  in  spite  of 
his  fine  resolution,  with  an  overwhelming  timidity.  The  iron 
grill  was  open.  He  thought  it  was  magnificent.  He  had  to  go 
inside. 

Julien  was  not  the  only  person  whose  heart  was  troubled  by 
his  arrival  in  the  house.  The  extreme  timidity  of  Madame 
de  Renal  was  fluttered  when  she  thought  of  this  stranger 
whose  functions  would  necessitate  his  coming  between  her  and 
her  children.  She  was  accustomed  to  seeing  her  sons  sleep 
in  her  own  room.  She  had  shed  many  tears  that  morning, 
when  she  had  seen  their  beds  carried  into  the  apartment 
intended  for  the  tutor.  It  was  in  vain  that  she  asked  her 
husband  to  have  the  bed  of  Stanislas-Xavier,  the  youngest, 
carried  back  into  her  room. 

Womanly  delicacy  was  carried  in  Madame  de  Renal  to  the 
point  of  excess.  She  conjured  up  in  her  imagination  the 
most  disagreeable  personage,  who  was  coarse,  badly  groomed 
and  encharged  with  the  duty  of  scolding  her  children  simply 
because  he  happened  to  know  Latin,  and  only  too  ready  to 
flog  her  sons  for  their  ignorance  of  that  barbarous  language. 


CHAPTER  VI 


ENNUI 


Non  so  piu  cosa  son 

Cosa  facio.  Mozakt  {Figaro). 

Madame  de  Renal  was  going  out  of  the  salon  by  the  folding 
window  which  opened  on  to  the  garden  with  that  vivacity  and 
grace  which  was  natural  to  her  when  she  was  free  from  human 
observation,  when  she  noticed  a  young  peasant  near  the 
entrance  gate.  He  was  still  almost  a  child,  extremely  pale, 
and  looked  as  though  he  had  been  crying.  He  was  in  a  white 
shirt  and  had  under  his  arm  a  perfectly  new  suit  of  violet  frieze. 

The  little  peasant's  complexion  was  so  white  and  his  eyes 
were  so  soft,  that  Madame  de  Renal's  somewhat  romantic 
spirit  thought  at  first  that  it  might  be  a  young  girl  in  disguise, 
who  had  come  to  ask  some  favour  of  the  M.  the  Mayor.  She 
took  pity  on  this  poor  creature,  who  had  stopped  at  the  entrance 
of  the  door,  and  who  apparently  did  not  dare  to  raise  its  hand 
to  the  bell.  Madame  de  Renal  approached,  forgetting  for  the 
moment  the  bitter  chagrin  occasioned  by  the  tutor's  arrival. 
Julien,  who  was  turned  towards  the  gate,  did  not  see  her 
advance.  He  trembled  when  a  soft  voice  said  quite  close  to 
his  ear : 

"  What  do  you  want  here,  my  child." 

Julien  turned  round  sharply  and  was  so  struck  by  Madame 
de  Renal's  look,  full  of  graciousness  as  it  was,  that  up  to  a 
certain  point  he  forgot  to  be  nervous.  Overcome  by  her 
beauty  he  soon  forgot  everything,  even  what  he  had  come  for. 
Madame  de  Renal  repeated  her  question. 

"  I  have  come  here  to  be  tutor,  Madame,"  he  said  at  last, 
quite  ashamed  of  his  tears  which  he  was  drying  as  best  as  he 
could 


28  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Madame  de  Renal  remained  silent.  They  had  a  view  or 
each  other  at  close  range.  Julien  had  never  seen  a  human 
being  so  well-dressed,  and  above  all  he  had  never  seen  a 
woman  with  so  dazzling  a  complexion  speak  to  him  at  all 
softly.  Madame  de  Renal  observed  the  big  tears  which  had 
lingered  on  the  cheeks  of  the  young  peasant,  those  cheeks 
which  had  been  so  pale  and  were  now  so  pink.  Soon  she 
began  to  laugh  with  all  the  mad  gaiety  of  a  young  girl,  she 
made  fun  of  herself,  and  was  unable  to  realise  the  extent  of  her 
happiness.  So  this  was  that  tutor  whom  she  had  imagined 
a  dirty,  badly  dressed  priest,  who  was  coming  to  scold  and 
flog  her  children. 

"  What !  Monsieur^"  she  said  to  him  at  last,  "  you  know 
Latin  ?  " 

The  word  "  Monsieur  "  astonished  Julien  so  much  that  he 
reflected  for  a  moment. 

"  Yes,  Madame,"  he  said  timidly. 

Madame  de  Renal  was  so  happy  that  she  plucked  up  the 
courage  to  say  to  Julien,  "  You  will  not  scold  the  poor  children 
too  much?" 

"I  scold  them!"  said  Julien  in  astonishment;  "why 
should  I?" 

"You  won't,  will  you,  Monsieur,"  she  added  after  a  little 
silence,  in  a  soft  voice  whose  emotion  became  more  and  more 
intense.     "  You  will  be  nice  to  them,  you  promise  me  ?  " 

To  hear  himself  called  "Monsieur"  again  in  all  seriousness 
by  so  well  dressed  a  lady  was  beyond  all  Julien's  expectations. 
He  had  always  said  to  himself  in  all  the  castles  of  Spain  that  he 
had  built  in  his  youth,  that  no  real  lady  would  ever  condescend 
to  talk  to  him  except  when  he  had  a  fine  uniform.  Madame 
de  Renal,  on  her  side,  was  completely  taken  in  by  Julien's 
beautiful  complexion,  his  big  black  eyes,  and  his  pretty  hair, 
which  was  more  than  usually  curly,  because  he  had  just 
plunged  his  head  into  the  basin  of  the  public  fountain  in  order 
to  refresh  himself.  She  was  over-joyed  to  find  that  this  sinister 
tutor,  whom  she  had  feared  to  find  so  harsh  and  severe  to  her 
children,  had,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  the  timid  manner  of  a  girl. 
The  contrast  between  her  fears  and  what  she  now  saw,  proved 
a  great  event  for  Madame  de  Renal's  peaceful  temperament. 
Finally,  she  recovered  from  her  surprise.  She  was  astonished 
to  find  herself  at  the  gate  of  her  own  house  talking  in  this  way 


ENNUI  29 

and  at  such  close  quarters  to  this  young  and  somewhat  scantily 
dressed  man. 

"  Let  us  go  in,  Monsieur,"  she  said  to  him  with  a  certain 
air  of  embarrassment. 

During  Madame  de  Renal's  whole  life  she  had  never  been 
so  deeply  moved  by  such  a  sense  of  pure  pleasure.  Never 
had  so  gracious  a  vision  followed  in  the  wake  of  her  discon- 
certing fears.  So  these  pretty  children  of  whom  she  took  such 
care  were  not  after  all  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  a  dirty  grumbl- 
ing priest.  She  had  scarcely  entered  the  vestibule  when  she 
turned  round  towards  Julien,  who  was  following  her  trembling. 
His  astonishment  at  the  sight  of  so  fine  a  house  proved  but 
an  additional  charm  in  Madame  de  Renal's  eyes.  She  could 
not  believe  her  own  eyes.  It  seemed  to  her,  above  all,  that 
the  tutor  ought  to  have  a  black  suit. 

"  But  is  it  true,  Monsieur,"  she  said  to  him,  stopping  once 
again,  and  in  mortal  fear  that  she  had  made  a  mistake,  so 
happy  had  her  discovery  made  her.  "  Is  it  true  that  you 
know  Latin  ? "  These  words  offended  Julien's  pride,  and 
dissipated  the  charming  atmosphere  which  he  had  been 
enjoying  for  the  last  quarter  of  an  hour. 

"  Yes,  Madame,"  he  said,  trying  to  assume  an  air  of  coldness, 
"  I  know  Latin  as  well  as  the  cure,  who  has  been  good  enough 
to  say  sometimes  that  I  know  it  even  better." 

Madame  de  Renal  thought  that  Julien  looked  extremely 
wicked.  He  had  stopped  two  paces  from  her.  She  approached 
and  said  to  him  in  a  whisper : 

"  You  won't  beat  my  children  the  first  few  days,  will  you, 
even  if  they  do  not  know  their  lessons  ?  " 

The  softness  and  almost  supplication  of  so  beautiful  a  lady 
made  Julien  suddenly  forget  what  he  owed  to  his  reputation 
as  a  Latinist.  Madame  de  Renal's  face  was  close  to  his  own. 
He  smelt  the  perfume  of  a  woman's  summer  clothing,  a  quite 
astonishing  experience  for  a  poor  peasant.  Julien  blushed 
extremely,  and  said  with  a  sigh  in  a  faltering  voice : 

"  Fear  nothing,  Madame,  I  will  obey  you  in  everything." 

It  was  only  now,  when  her  anxiety  about  her  children  had 
been  relieved  once  and  for  all,  that  Madame  de  Renal  was 
struck  by  Julien's  extreme  beauty.  The  comparative  effemin- 
ancy  of  his  features  and  his  air  of  extreme  embarrassment  did 
not  seem  in  any  way  ridiculous  to  a  woman  who  was  herself 


30  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

extremely  timid.  The  male  air,  which  is  usually  considered 
essential  to  a  man's  beauty,  would  have  terrified  her. 

"  How  old  are  you,  sir,  she  said  to  Julien  ?  " 

"  Nearly  nineteen." 

"  My  elder  son  is  eleven,"  went  on  Madame  de  Renal,  who 
had  completely  recovered  her  confidence.  "  He  will  be  almost 
a  chum  for  you.  You  will  talk  sensibly  to  him.  His  father 
started  beating  him  once.  The  child  was  ill  for  a  whole  week, 
and  yet  it  was  only  a  little  tap." 

What  a  difference  between  him  and  me,  thought  Julien. 
Why,  it  was  only  yesterday  that  my  father  beat  me.  How 
happy  these  rich  people  are.  Madame  de  Renal,  who  had 
already  begun  to  observe  the  fine  nuances  of  the  workings  in 
the  tutor's  mind,  took  this  fit  of  sadness  for  timidity  and  tried 
to  encourage  him. 

"  What  is  your  name,  Monsieur  ?  "  she  said  to  him,  with  an 
accent  and  a  graciousness  whose  charm  Julien  appreciated 
without  being  able  to  explain. 

"  I  am  called  Julien  Sorel,  Madame.  I  feel  nervous  of 
entering  a  strange  house  for  the  first  time  in  my  life.  I  have 
need  of  your  protection  and  I  want  you  to  make  many  allow- 
ances for  me  during  the  first  few  days.  I  have  never  been  to 
the  college,  I  was  too  poor.  I  have  never  spoken  to  anyone 
else  except  my  cousin  who  was  Surgeon-Major,  Member  of 
the  Legion  of  Honour,  and  M.  the  cure  Chelan.  He  will  give 
you  a  good  account  of  me.  My  brothers  always  used  to  beat 
me,  and  you  must  not  believe  them  if  they  speak  badly  of  me 
to  you.  You  must  forgive  my  faults,  Madame.  I  shall  always 
mean  everything  for  the  best." 

Julien  had  regained  his  confidence  during  this  long  speech. 
He  was  examining  Madame  de  Renal.  Perfect  grace  works 
wonders  when  it  is  natural  to  the  character,  and  above  all, 
when  the  person  whom  it  adorns  never  thinks  of  trying  to 
affect  it.  Julien,  who  was  quite  a  connoisseur  in  feminine 
beauty,  would  have  sworn  at  this  particular  moment  that  she 
was  not  more  than  twenty.  The  rash  idea  of  kissing  her  hand 
immediately  occurred  to  him.  He  soon  became  frightened  of 
his  idea.  A  minute  later  he  said  to  himself,  it  will  be  an  act 
of  cowardice  if  I  do  not  carry  out  an  action  which  may  be 
useful  to  me,  and  lessen  the  contempt  which  this  fine  lady 
probably  has  for  a  poor  workman  just  taken  away  from  the 


ENNUI  31 

saw-mill.  Possibly  Julien  was  a  little  encouraged  through 
having  heard  some  young  girls  repeat  on  Sundays  during  the 
last  six  months  the  words  "  pretty  boy." 

During  this  internal  debate,  Madame  de  Renal  was  giving 
him  two  or  three  hints  on  the  way  to  commence  handling  the 
children.  The  strain  Julien  was  putting  on  himself  made 
him  once  more  very  pale.     He  said  with  an  air  of  constraint. 

"  I  will  never  beat  your  children,  Madame.  I  swear  it  before 
God."  In  saying  this,  he  dared  to  take  Madame  de  Renal's 
hand  and  carry  it  to  his  lips.  She  was  astonished  at  this  act, 
and  after  reflecting,  became  shocked.  As  the  weather  was 
very  warm,  her  arm  was  quite  bare  underneath  the  shawl,  and 
Julien's  movement  in  carrying  her  hand  to  his  lips  entirely 
uncovered  it.  After  a  few  moments  she  scolded  herself.  It 
seemed  to  her  that  her  anger  had  not  been  quick  enough. 

M.  de  Renal,  who  had  heard  voices,  came  out  of  his  study, 
and  assuming  the  same  air  of  paternal  majesty  with  which  he 
celebrated  marriages  at  the  mayoral  office,  said  to  Julien : 

"  It  is  essential  for  me  to  have  a  few  words  with  you  before  my 
children  see  you."  He  made  Julien  enter  a  room  and  insisted 
on  his  wife  being  present,  although  she  wished  to  leave  them 
alone.     Having  closed  the  door  M.  Renal  sat  down. 

"  M.  the  cure  has  told  me  that  you  are  a  worthy  person,  and 
everybody  here  will  treat  you  with  respect.  If  I  am  satisfied 
with  you  I  will  later  on  help  you  in  having  a  little  establishment 
of  your  own.  I  do  not  wish  you  to  see  either  anything  more 
of  your  relatives  or  your  friends.  Their  tone  is  bound  to  be 
prejudicial  to  my  children.  Here  are  thirty-six  francs  for  the 
first  month,  but  I  insist  on  your  word  not  to  give  a  sou  of  this 
money  to  your  father." 

M.  de  Renal  was  piqued  against  the  old  man  for  having 
proved  the  shrewder  bargainer. 

"  Now,  Monsieur,  for  1  have  given  orders  for  everybody 
here  to  call  you  Monsieur,  and  you  will  appreciate  the  advantage 
of  having  entered  the  house  of  real  gentle  folk,  now,  Mon- 
sieur, it  is  not  becoming  for  the  children  to  see  you  in  a 
jacket."  "  Have  the  servants  seen  him  ?  "  said  M.  de  Renal 
to  his  wife. 

"  No,  my  dear,"  she  answered,  with  an  air  of  deep 
pensiveness. 

"  All  the  better.     Put  this  on,"  he  said  to  the   surprised 


32  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

young  man,  giving  him  a  frock-coat  of  his  own.     "  Let  us  now 
go  to  M.  Durand's  the  draper." 

When  M.  de  Renal  came  back  with  the  new  tutor  in  his 
black  suit  more  than  an  hour  later,  he  found  his  wife  still 
seated  in  the  same  place.  She  felt  calmed  by  Julien's 
presence.  When  she  examined  him  she  forgot  to  be  frightened 
of  him.  Julien  was  not  thinking  about  her  at  all.  In  spite 
of  all  his  distrust  of  destiny  and  mankind,  his  soul  at  this 
moment  was  as  simple  as  that  of  a  child.  It  seemed  as 
though  he  had  lived  through  years  since  the  moment,  three 
hours  ago,  when  he  had  been  all  atremble  in  the  church. 
He  noticed  Madame  de  Renal's  frigid  manner  and  realised 
that  she  was  very  angry,  because  he  had  dared  to  kiss  her 
hand.  But  the  proud  consciousness  which  was  given  to  him 
by  the  feel  of  clothes  so  different  from  those  which  he  usually 
wore,  transported  him  so  violently  and  he  had  so  great  a 
desire  to  conceal  his  exultation,  that  all  his  movements  were 
marked  by  a  certain  spasmodic  irresponsibility.  Madame  de 
Renal  looked  at  him  with  astonishment. 

"  Monsieur,"  said  M.  de  Renal  to  him,  "  dignity  above  all 
is  necessary  if  you  wish  to  be  respected  by  my  children." 

"  Sir,"  answered  Julien,  "  I  feel  awkward  in  my  new  clothes. 
I  am  a  poor  peasant  and  have  never  wore  anything  but  jackets. 
If  you  allow  it,  I  will  retire  to  my  room." 

"  What  do  you  think  of  this  '  acquisition  ? ' "  said  M.  de 
Renal  to  his  wife. 

Madame  de  Renal  concealed  the  truth  from  her  husband, 
obeying  an  almost  instinctive  impulse  which  she  certainly 
did  not  own  to  herself. 

"  I  am  not  as  fascinated  as  you  are  by  this  little  peasant. 
Your  favours  will  result  in  his  not  being  able  to  keep  his  place, 
and  you  will  have  to  send  him  back  before  the  month  is  out." 

"  Oh,  well !  we'll  send  him  back  then,  he  cannot  run  me 
into  more  than  a  hundred  francs,  and  Verrieres  will  have  got 
used  to  seeing  M.  de  Renal's  children  with  a  tutor.  That 
result  would  not  have  been  achieved  if  I  had  allowed 
Julien  to  wear  a  workman's  clothes.  If  I  do  send  him 
back,  I  shall  of  course  keep  the  complete  black  suit  which 
I  have  just  ordered  at  the  draper's.  All  he  will  keep  is 
the  ready-made  suit  which  I  have  just  put  him  into  at  the 
the  tailor's." 


ENNUI  33 

The  hour  that  Julien  spent  in  his  room  seemed  only  a 
minute  to  Madame  de  Renal.  The  children  who  had  been 
told  about  their  new  tutor  began  to  overwhelm  their  mother 
with  questions.  Eventually  Julien  appeared.  He  was  quite 
another  man.  It  would  be  incorrect  to  say  that  he  was  grave 
— he  was  the  very  incarnation  of  gravity.  He  was  introduced 
to  the  children  and  spoke  to  them  in  a  manner  that  astonished 
M.  de  Renal  himself. 

"  I  am  here,  gentlemen,  he  said,  as  he  finished  his  speech,  to 
teach  you  Latin.  You  know  what  it  means  to  recite  a  lesson. 
Here  is  the  Holy  Bible,  he  said,  showing  them  a  small  volume 
in  thirty-two  mo.,  bound  in  black.  It  deals  especially  with  the 
history  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  and  is  the  part  which  is  called 
the  New  Testament.  I  shall  often  make  you  recite  your 
lesson,  but  do  you  make  me  now  recite  mine." 

Adolphe,  the  eldest  of  the  children,  had  taken  up  the  book. 
"  Open  it  anywhere  you  like,"  went  on  Julien  and  tell  me  the 
first  word  of  any  verse,  "  I  will  then  recite  by  heart  that  sacred 
book  which  governs  our  conduct  towards  the  whole  world, 
until  you  stop  me." 

Adolphe  opened  the  book  and  read  a  word,  and  Julien 
recited  the  whole  of  the  page  as  easily  as  though  he  had 
been  talking  French.  M.  de  Renal  looked  at  his  wife  with 
an  air  of  triumph  The  children,  seeing  the  astonishment  of 
their  parents,  opened  their  eyes  wide.  A  servant  came  to  the 
door  of  the  drawing-room;  Julien  went  on  talking  Latin. 
The  servant'  first  remained  motionless,  and  then  disappeared. 
Soon  Madame's  house-maid,  together  with  the  cook,  arrived 
at  the  door.  Adolphe  had  already  opened  the  book  at 
eight  different  places,  while  Julien  went  on  reciting  all  the 
time  with  the  same  facility.  "  Great  heavens!  "  said  the  cook, 
a  good  and  devout  girl,  quite  aloud,  "what  a  pretty  little 
priest ! "  M.  de  Renal's  self-esteem  became  uneasy.  Instead 
of  thinking  of  examining  the  tutor,  his  mind  was  concentrated 
in  racking  his  memory  for  some  other  Latin  words.  Eventully 
he  managed  to  spout  a  phrase  of  Horace.  Julien  knew  no 
other  Latin  except  his  Bible.  He  answered  with  a  frown. 
"  The  holy  ministry  to  which  I  destine  myself  has  forbidden 
me  to  read  so  profane  a  poet." 

M.  de  Renal  quoted  quite  a  large  number  of  alleged  verses 
from  Horace.     He  explained  to  his  children  who  Horace  was, 

3 


34  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

but  the  admiring  children,  scarcely  attended  to  what  he  was 
saying  :  they  were  looking  at  Julien. 

The  servants  were  still  at  the  door.  Julien  thought  that  he 
ought  to  prolong  the  test — "  M.  Stanislas-Xavier  also,"  he 
said  to  the  youngest  of  the  children,  "  must  give  me  a  passage 
from  the  holy  book." 

Little  Stanislas,  who  was  quite  flattered,  read  indifferently 
the  first  word  of  a  verse,  and  Julien  said  the  whole  page. 

To  put  the  finishing  touch  on  M.  de  Renal's  triumph,  M. 
Valenod,  the  owner  of  the  fine  Norman  horses,  and  M.  Char- 
cot de  Maugiron,  the  sub-prefect  of  the  district  came  in  when 
Julien  was  reciting.  This  scene  earned  for  Julien  the  title  of 
Monsieur ;  even  tht  servants  did  not  dare  to  refuse  it  to  him. 

That  evening  all  Verrieres  flocked  to  M.  de  Renal's  to  see 
the  prodigy.  Julien  answered  everybody  in  a  gloomy  manner 
and  kept  his  own  distance.  His  fame  spread  so  rapidly  in  the 
town  that  a  few  hours  afterwards  M.  de  Renal,  fearing  that  he 
would  be  taken  away  by  somebody  else,  proposed  to  hinr  that 
he  should  sign  an  engagement  for  two  years. 

"  No,  Monsieur,"  Julien  answered  coldly,  "  if  you  wished  to 
dismiss  me,  I  should  have  to  go.  An  engagement  which  binds 
me  without  involving  you  in  any  obligation  is  not  an  equal 
one  and  I  refuse  it." 

Julien  played  his  cards  so  well,  that  in  less  than  a  month  of 
his  arrival  at  the  house,  M.  de  Renal  himself  respected  him. 
As  the  cure  had  quarrelled  with  both  M.  de  Renal  and  M. 
Valenod,  there  was  no  one  who  could  betray  Julien's  old 
passion  for  Napoleon.  He  always  spoke  of  Napoleon  with 
abhorrence. 


CHAPTER  VII 


THE    ELECTIVE   AFFINITIES 


They  only  manage  to  touch  the  heart  by  wounding  it. — A  Modern. 

The  children  adored  him,  but  he  did  not  like  them  in  the 
least.  His  thoughts  were  elsewhere.  But  nothing  which  the 
little  brats  ever  did  made  him  lose  his  patience.  Cold,  just 
and  impassive,  and  none  the  less  liked,  inasmuch  his  arrival 
had  more  or  less  driven  ennui  out  of  the  house,  he  was  a  good 
tutor.  As  for  himself,  he  felt  nothing  but  hate  and  abhorrence 
for  that  good  society  into  which  he  had  been  admitted ;  ad- 
mitted, it  is  true  at  the  bottom  of  the  table,  a  circumstance 
which  perhaps  explained  his  hate  and  his  abhorrence.  There 
were  certain  '  full-dress '  dinners  at  which  he  was  scarcely  able 
to  control  his  hate  for  everything  that  surrounded  him.  One 
St.  Louis  feast  day  in  particular,  when  M.  Valenod  was  mono- 
polizing the  conversation  of  M.  de  Renal,  Julien  was  on  the 
point  of  betraying  himself.  He  escaped  into  the  garden  on 
the  pretext  of  finding  the  children.  "  What  praise  of  honesty," 
he  exclaimed.  "  One  would  say  that  was  the  only  virtue,  and 
yet  think  how  they  respect  and  grovel  before  a  man  who  has 
almost  doubled  and  trebled  his  fortune  since  he  has  adminis- 
tered the  poor  fund.  I  would  bet  anything  that  he  makes  a 
profit  even  out  of  the  monies  which  are  intended  for  the 
foundlings  of  these  poor  creatures  whose  misery  is  even  more 
sacred  than  that  of  others.  Oh,  Monsters  !  Monsters !  And 
I  too,  am  a  kind  of  foundling,  hated  as  I  am  by  my  father,  my 
brothers,  and  all  my  family." 

Some  days  before  the  feast  of  St.  Louis,  when  Julien  was 
taking  a  solitary  walk  and  reciting  his  breviary  in  the  little 
wood  called  the  Belvedere,  which  dominates  the  Cours  de  la 


36  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Fidelite,  he  had  endeavoured  in  vain  to>  avoid  his  two  brothers 
whom  he  saw  coming  along  in  the  distance  by  a  lonely  path. 
The  jealousy  of  these  coarse  workmen  had  been  provoked  to 
such  a  pitch  by  their  brother's  fine  black  suit,  by  his  air  of 
extreme  respectability,  and  by  the  sincere  contempt  which  he 
had  for  them,  that  they  had  beaten  him  until  he  had  fainted 
and  was  bleeding  all  over. 

Madame  de  Renal,  who  was  taking  a  walk  with  M.  de  R6nal 
and  the  sub-prefect,  happened  to  arrive  in  the  little  wood. 
She  saw  Julien  lying  on  the  ground  and  thought  that  he  was 
dead.  She  was  so  overcome  that  she  made  M.  Valenod 
jealous. 

His  alarm  was  premature.  Julien  found  Madame  de  Renal 
very  pretty,  but  he  hated  her  on  account  of  her  beauty,  for 
that  had  been  the  first  danger  which  had  almost  stopped  his 
career. 

He  talked  to  her  as  little  as  possible,  in  order  to  make  her 
forget  the  transport  which  had  induced  him  to  kiss  her  hand 
on  the  first  day. 

Madame  de  Renal's  housemaid,  Elisa,  had  lost  no  time  in 
falling  in  love  with  the  young  tutor.  She  often  talked  about 
him  to  her  mistress.  Elisa's  love  had  earned  for  Julien  the 
hatred  of  one  of  the  men-servants.  One  day  he  heard  the  man 
saying  to  Elisa,  "  You  haven't  a  word  for  me  now  that  this 
dirty  tutor  has  entered  the  household."  The  insult  was  un- 
deserved, but  Julien  with  the  instinctive  vanity  ot  a  pretty  boy 
redoubled  his  care  of  his  personal  appearance.  M.  Valenod's 
hate  also  increased.  He  said  publicly,  that  it  was  not  be- 
coming for  a  young  abbe  to  be  such  a  fop. 

Madame  de  Renal  observed  that  Julien  talked  more 
frequently  than  usual  to  Mademoiselle  Elisa.  She  learnt  that 
the  reason  of  these  interviews  was  the  poverty  of  Julien's  ex- 
tremely small  wardrobe.  He  had  so  little  linen  that  he  was 
obliged  to  have  it  very  frequently  washed  outside  the  house, 
and  it  was  in  these  little  matters  that  Elisa  was  useful  to  him. 
Madame  de  Renal  was  touched  by  this  extreme  poverty 
which  she  had  never  suspected  before.  She  was  anxious  to 
make  him  presents,  but  she  did  not  dare  to  do  so.  This  inner 
conflict  was  the  first  painful  emotion  that  Julien  had  caused 
her.  Till  then  Julien's  name  had  been  synonymous  with  a 
pure  and  quite  intellectual  joy.     Tormented  by  the  idea  of 


THE  ELECTIVE  AFFINITIES  37 

Julien's  poverty,  Madame  de  Renal   spoke   to  her  husband 
about  giving  him  some  linen  for  a  present. 

"  What  nonsense,"  he  answered,  "  the  very  idea  of  giving 
presents  to  a  man  with  whom  we  are  perfectly  satisfied  and 
who  is  a  good  servant.  It  will  only  be  if  he  is  remiss  that  we 
shall  have  to  stimulate  his  zeal." 

Madame  de  Renal  felt  humiliated  by  this  way  of  looking  at 
things,  though  she  would  never  have  noticed  it  in  the  days 
before  Julien's  arrival.  She  never  looked  at  the  young  abbe's 
attire,  with  its  combination  of  simplicity  and  absolute  cleanli- 
ness, without  saying  to  herself,  "  The  poor  boy,  how  can  he 
manage  ?  " 

Little  by  little,  instead  of  being  shocked  by  all  Julien's 
deficiencies,  she  pitied  him  for  them. 

Madame  de  Renal  was  one  of  those  provincial  women 
whom  one  is  apt  to  take  for  fools  during  the  first  fortnight  of 
acquaintanceship.  She  had  no  experience  of  the  world  and 
never  bothered  to  keep  up  the  conversation.  Nature  had 
given  her  a  refined  and  fastidious  soul,  while  that  instinct  for 
happiness  which  is  innate  in  all  human  beings  caused  her,  as 
a  rule,  to  pay  no  attention  to  the  acts  of  the  coarse  persons 
in  whose  midst  chance  had  thrown  her.  If  she  had  received 
the  slightest  education,  she  would  have  been  noticeable  for 
the  spontaneity  and  vivacity  of  her  mind,  but  being  an  heiress, 
she  had  been  brought  up  in  a  Convent  of  Nuns,  who  were 
passionate  devotees  of  the  Sacred  Heart  of  Jesus  and 
animated  by  a  violent  hate  for  the  French  as  being  the 
enemies  of  the  Jesuits.  Madame  de  Renal  had  had  enough 
sense  to  forget  quickly  all  the  nonsense  which  she  had  learned 
at  the  convent,  but  had  substituted  nothing  for  it,  and  in  the 
long  run  knew  nothing.  The  flatteries  which  had  been 
lavished  on  her  when  still  a  child,  by  reason  of  the  great 
fortune  of  which  she  was  the  heiress,  and  a  decided  tendency 
to  passionate  devotion,  had  given  her  quite  an  inner  life  of 
her  own.  In  spite  of  her  pose  of  perfect  affability  and  her 
elimination  of  her  individual  will  which  was  cited  as  a  model 
example  by  all  the  husbands  in  Verrieres  and  which  made  M. 
de  Renal  feel  very  proud,  the  moods  of  her  mind  were  usually 
dictated  by  a  spirit  of  the  most  haughty  discontent. 

Many  a  princess  who  has  become  a  bye-word  for  pride  has 
given  infinitely  more  attention  to  what  her  courtiers  have  been 


38  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

doing  around  her  than  did  this  apparently  gentle  and  demure 
woman  to  anything  which  her  husband  either  said  or  did.  Up 
to  the  time  of  Julien's  arrival  she  had  never  really  troubled  about 
anything  except  her  children.  Their  little  maladies,  their 
troubles,  their  little  joys,  occupied  all  the  sensibility  of  that 
soul,  who,  during  her  whole  life,  had  adored  no  one  but  God, 
when  she  had  been  at  the  Sacred  Heart  of  Besancon. 

A  feverish  attack  of  one  of  her  sons  would  affect  her  almost 
as  deeply  as  if  the  child  had  died,  though  she  would  not 
deign  to  confide  in  anyone.  A  burst  of  coarse"  laughter,  a 
shrug  of  the  shoulders,  accompanied  by  some  platitude  on  the 
folly  of  women,  had  been  the  only  welcome  her  husband  had 
vouchsafed  to  those  confidences  about  her  troubles,  which 
the  need  of  unburdening  herself  had  induced  her  to  make 
during  the  first  years  of  their  marriage.  Jokes  of  this  kind, 
and  above  all,  when  they  were  directed  at  her  children's 
ailments,  were  exquisite  torture  to  Madame  de  Renal.  And 
these  jokes  were  all  she  found  to  take  the  place  of  those 
exaggerated  sugary  flatteries  with  which  she  had  been  regaled 
at  the  Jesuit  Convent  where  she  had  passed  her  youth.  Her 
education  had  been  given  her  by  suffering.  Too  proud  even 
to  talk  to  her  friend,  Madame  Derville,  about  troubles  of  this 
kind,  she  imagined  that  all  men  were  like  her  husband,  M. 
Valenod,  and  the  sub-prefect,  M.  Charcot  de  Maugiron. 
Coarseness,  and  the  most  brutal  callousness  to  everything 
except  financial  gain,  precedence,  or  orders,  together  with 
blind  hate  of  every  argument  to  which  they  objected,  seemed 
to  her  as  natural  to  the  male  sex  as  wearing  boots  and  felt 
hats. 

After  many  years,  Madame  de  Renal  had  still  failed  to 
acclimatize  herself  to  those  monied  people  in  whose  society 
she  had  to  live. 

Hence  the  success  of  the  little  peasant  Julien.  She  found 
in  the  sympathy  of  this  proud  and  noble  soul  a  sweet  enjoy- 
ment which  had  all  the  glamour  and  fascination  of  novelty. 

Madame  de  Renal  soon  forgave  him  that  extreme  ignorance, 
which  constituted  but  an  additional  charm,  and  the  roughness 
of  his  manner  which  she  succeeded  in  correcting.  She 
thought  that  he  was  worth  listening  to,  even  when  the  con- 
versation turned  on  the  most  ordinary  events,  even  in  fact 
when  it  was  only  a  question  of  a  poor  dog  which  had  been 


THE  ELECTIVE  AFFINITIES  39 

crushed  as  he  crossed  the  street  by  a  peasant's  cart  going  at 
a  trot.  The  sight  of  the  dog's  pain  made  her  husband  indulge 
in  his  coarse  laugh,  while  she  noticed  Julien  frown,  with  his 
fine  black  eyebrows  which  were  so  beautifully  arched. 

Little  by  little,  it  seemed  to  her  that  generosity,  nobility  of 
soul  and  humanity  were  to  be  found  in  nobody  else  except 
this  young  abbe\  She  felt  for  him  all  the  sympathy  and  even 
all  the  admiration  which  those  virtues  excite  in  well-born  souls. 

If  the  scene  had  been  Paris,  Julien's  position  towards 
Madame  de  Renal  would  have  been  soon  simplified.  But  at 
Paris,  love  is  a  creature  of  novels.  The  young  tutor  and  his 
timid  mistress  would  soon  have  found  the  elucidation  of  their 
position  in  three  or  four  novels,  and  even  in  the  couplets  of  the 
Gymnase  Theatre.  The  novels  which  have  traced  out  for 
them  the  part  they  would  play,  and  showed  them  the  model 
which  they  were  to  imitate,  and  Julien  would  sooner  or  later 
have  been  forced  by  his  vanity  to  follow  that  model,  even 
though  it  had  given  him  no  pleasure  and  had  perhaps  actually 
gone  against  the  grain. 

If  the  scene  had  been  laid  in  a  small  town  in  Aveyron 
or  the  Pyrenees,  the  slightest  episode  would  have  been 
rendered  crucial  by  the  fiery  condition  of  the  atmosphere.  But 
under  our  more  gloomy  skies,  a  poor  young  man  who  is  only 
ambitious  because  his  natural  refinement  makes  him  feel  the 
necessity  of  some  of  those  joys  which  only  money  can  give, 
can  see  every  day  a  woman  of  thirty  who  is  sincerely  virtuous, 
is  absorbed  in  her  children,  and  never  goes  to  novels  for  her 
examples  of  conduct.  Everything  goes  slowly,  everything 
happens  gradually,  in  the  provinces  where  there  is  far  more 
naturalness. 

Madame  de  Renal  was  often  overcome  to  the  point  of 
tears  when  she  thought  of  the  young  tutor's  poverty.  Julien 
surprised  her  one  day  actually  crying. 

"  Oh  Madame  !  has  any  misfortune  happened  to  you  ?  " 

"  No,  my  friend,"  she  answered,  "  call  the  children,  let  us 
go  for  a  walk." 

She  took  his  arm  and  leant  on  it  in  a  manner  that  struck 
Julien  as  singular.  It  was  the  first  time  she  had  called 
Julien  "  My  friend." 

Towards  the  end  of  the  walk,  Julien  noticed  that  she  was 
blushing  violently.     She  slackened  her  pace. 


40  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"  You  have  no  doubt  heard,"  she  said,  "  without  looking 
at  him,  that  I  am  the  only  heiress  of  a  very  rich  aunt  who 

lives  at  Besancon.     She  loads  me  with  presents My 

sons  are  getting  on  so  wonderfully  that  I  should  like  to  ask 
you  to  accept  a  small  present  as  a  token  of  my  gratitude.  It 
is  only  a  matter  of  a  few  louis  to  enable  you  to  get  some 
linen.  But — "  she  added,  blushing  still  more,  and  she  left 
off  speaking — 

"  But  what,  Madame  ?  "  said  Julien. 

"  It  is  unnecessary,"  she  went  on  lowering  her  head,  "  to 
mention  this  to  my  husband." 

"  I  may  not  be  big,  Madame,  but  I  am  not  mean,"  answered 
Julien,  stopping,  and  drawing  himself  up  to  his  full  height, 
with  his  eyes  shining  with  rage,  "  and  this  is  what  you 
have  not  realised  sufficiently.  I  should  be  lower  than  a 
menial  if  I  were  to  put  myself  in  the  position  of  concealing 
from  M  de.  Renal  anything  at  all  having  to  do  with  my 
money." 

Madame  de  Renal  was  thunderstruck. 

"  The  Mayor,"  went  on  Julien,  "  has  given  me  on  five 
occasions  sums  of  thirty-six  francs  since  I  have  been  living 
in  his  house.  I  am  ready  to  show  any  account-book  to  M. 
de  Renal  and  anyone  else,  even  to  M.  Valenod  who  hates 
me." 

As  the  result  of  this  outburst,  Madame  de  Renal  remained 
pale  and  nervous,  and  the  walk  ended  without  either  one  or 
the  other  finding  any  pretext  for  renewing  the  conversation. 
Julien's  proud  heart  had  found  it  more  and  more  impossible  to 
love  Madame  de  Renal. 

As  for  her,  she  respected  him,  she  admired  him,  and  she 
had  been  scolded  by  him.  Under  the  pretext  of  making  up 
for  the  involuntary  humiliation  which  she  had  caused  him, 
she  indulged  in  acts  of  the  most  tender  solicitude.  The 
novelty  of  these  attentions  made  Madame  de  Renal  happy  for 
eight  days.  Their  effect  was  to  appease  to  some  extent 
Julien's  anger.  He  was  far  from  seeing  anything  in  them  in 
the  nature  of  a  fancy  for  himself  personally. 

"That  is  just  what  rich  people  are,"  he  said  to  himself — 
"  they  snub  you  and  then  they  think  they  can  make  up  for 
everything  by  a  few  monkey  tricks." 

Madame  de  Renal's  heart  was  too  full,  and  at  the  same  time 


THE  ELECTIVE  AFFINITIES  41 

too  innocent,  for  her  not  too  tell  her  husband,  in  spite  of 
her  resolutions  not  to  do  so,  about  the  offer  she  had 
made  to  Julien,  and  the  manner  in  which  she  had  been 
rebuffed. 

"  How  on  earth,"  answered  M.  de  Renal,  keenly  piqued, 
"  could  you  put  up  with  a  refusal  on  the  part  of  a  servant," — 
and,  when  Madame  de  Renal  protested  against  the  word 
"  Servant,"  "  I  am  using,  madam,  the  words  of  the  late  Prince 
of  Conde,  when  he  presented  his  Chamberlains  to  his  new 
wife.  '  All  these  people '  he  said  '  are  servants.'  I  have  also 
read  you  this  passage  from  the  Memoirs  of  Besenval,  a  book 
which  is  indispensable  on  all  questions  of  etiquette.  '  Every 
person,  not  a  gentleman,  who  lives  in  your  house  and  receives 
a  salary  is  your  servant.'  I'll  go  and  say  a  few  words  to  M. 
Julien  and  give  him  a  hundred  francs." 

"  Oh,  my  dear,"  said  Madame  De  Renal  trembling,  "  I  hope 
you  won't  do  it  before  the  servants  ! " 

"  Yes,  they  might  be  jealous  and  rightly  so,"  said  hei 
husband  as  he  took  his  leave,  thinking  of  the  greatness  ot 
the  sum. 

Madame  de  Renal  fell  on  a  chair  almost  fainting  in  her 
anguish.  He  is  going  to  humiliate  Julien,  and  it  is  my  fault ! 
She  felt  an  abhorrence  for  her  husband  and  hid  her  face  in 
her  hands.  She  resolved  that  henceforth  she  would  never 
make  any  more  confidences. 

When  she  saw  Julien  again  she  was  trembling  all  over. 
Her  chest  was  so  cramped  that  she  could  not  succeed  in 
pronouncing  a  single  word.  In  her  embarrassment  she  took 
his  hands  and  pressed  them. 

"  Well,  my  friend,"  she  said  to  him  at  last,  "  are  you 
satisfied  with  my  husband  ?  " 

"  How  could  I  be  otherwise,"  answered  Julien,  with  a  bitter 
smile,  "  he  has  given  me  a  hundred  francs." 

Madame  de  Renal  looked  at  him  doubtfully. 

"  Give  me  your  arm,"  she  said  at  last,  with  a  courageous 
intonation  that  Julien  had  not  heard  before. 

She  dared  to  go  as  far  as  the  shop  of  the  bookseller  of  Verrieres, 
in  spite  of  his  awful  reputation  for  Liberalism.  In  the  shop  she 
chose  ten  louis  worth  of  books  for  a  present  for  her  sons. 
But  these  books  were  those  which  she  knew  Julien  was 
wanting.     She  insisted  on  each  child  writing  his  name  then 


42  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

and  there  in  the  bookseller's  shop  in  those  books  which  fell  to 
his  lot.  While  Madame  de  Renal  was  rejoicing  over  the  kind 
reparation  which  she  had  had  the  courage  to  make  to  Julien, 
the  latter  was  overwhelmed  with  astonishment  at  the  quantity 
of  books  which  he  saw  at  the  bookseller's.  He  had  never 
dared  to  enter  so  profane  a  place.  His  heart  was  palpitating. 
Instead  of  trying  to  guess  what  was  passing  in  Madame  de 
Renal's  heart  he  pondered  deeply  over  the  means  by  which  a 
young  theological  student  could  procure  some  of  those  books. 
Eventually  it  occurred  to  him  that  it  would  be  possible,  with 
tact,  to  persuade  M.  de  Renal  that  one  of  the  proper  subjects 
of  his  sons'  curriculum  would  be  the  history  of  the  celebrated 
gentlemen  who  had  been  born  in  the  province.  After  a  month 
of  careful  preparation  Julien  witnessed  the  success  of  this  idea. 
The  success  was  so  great  that  he  actually  dared  to  risk 
mentioning  to  M.  de  Renal  in  conversation,  a  matter  which 
the  noble  mayor  found  disagreeable  from  quite  another  point 
of  view.  The  suggestion  was  to  contribute  to  the  fortune  of 
a  Liberal  by  taking  a  subscription  at  the  bookseller's.  M. 
de  Renal  agreed  that  it  would  be  wise  to  give  his  elder  son  a 
first  hand  acquaintance  with  many  works  which  he  would 
hear  mentioned  in  conversation  when  he  went  to  the 
Military  School. 

But  Julien  saw  that  the  mayor  had  determined  to  go  no 
further.  He  suspected  some  secret  reason  but  could  not 
guess  it. 

"  I  was  thinking,  sir,"  he  said  to  him  one  day,  "  that  it  would 
be  highly  undesirable  for  the  name  of  so  good  a  gentleman  as 
a  Renal  to  appear  on  a  bookseller's  dirty  ledger."  M.  de 
Renal's  face  cleared. 

"  It  would  also  be  a  black  mark,"  continued  Julien  in  a 
more  humble  tone,  "  against  a  poor  theology  student  if  it  ever 
leaked  out  that  his  name  had  been  on  the  ledger  of  a  book- 
seller who  let  out  books.  The  Liberals  might  go  so  far  as  to 
accuse  me  of  having  asked  for  the  most  infamous  books. 
Who  knows  if  they  will  not  even  go  so  far  as  to  write  the 
titles  of  those  perverse  volumes  after  my  name  ?  But  Julien 
was  getting  off  the  track.  He  noticed  that  the  Mayor's 
physiognomy  was  re-assuming  its  expression  of  embarrassment 
and  displeasure.  Julien  was  silent.  "  I  have  caught  my  man  " 
he  said  to  himself. 


THE  ELECTIVE  AFFINITIES  43 

It  so  happened  that  a  few  days  afterwards  the  elder  of  the 
children  asked  Julien,  in  M.  de  Renal's  presence,  about  a  book 
which  had  been  advertised  in  the  Quotidienne. 

"  In  order  to  prevent  the  Jacobin  Party  having  the  slightest 
pretext  for  a  score,"  said  the  young  tutor,  "  and  yet  give  me 
the  means  of  answering  M.  de  Adolphe's  question,  you  can 
make  your  most  menial  servant  take  out  a  subscription  at  the 
booksellers." 

"  That's  not  a  bad  idea,"  said  M.  de  Renal,  who  was 
obviously  very  delighted. 

"  You  will  have  to  stipulate  all  the  same,"  said  Julien  in  that 
solemn  and  almost  melancholy  manner  which  suits  some 
people  so  well  when  they  see  the  realization  of  matters  which 
they  have  desired  for  a  long  time  past,  "  you  will 
have  to  stipulate  that  the  servant  should  not  take  out  any 
novels.  Those  dangerous  books,  once  they  got  into  the 
house,  might  corrupt  Madame  de  Renal's  maids,  and  even  the 
servant  himself." 

"  You  are  forgetting  the  political  pamphlets,"  went  on  M. 
de  Renal  with  an  important  air.  He  was  anxious  to  conceal 
the  admiration  with  which  the  cunning  "  middle  course " 
devised  by  his  children's  tutor  had  filled  him. 

In  this  way  Julien's  life  was  made  up  of  a  series  of  little 
acts  of  diplomacy,  and  their  success  gave  him  far  more  food 
for  thought  than  the  marked  manifestation  of  favouritism  which 
he  could  have  read  at  any  time  in  Madame  de  Renal's  heart, 
had  he  so  wished. 

The  psychological  position  in  which  he  had  found  himself  all 
his  life  was  renewed  again  in  the  mayor  of  Verriere's  house. 
Here  in  the  same  way  as  at  his  father's  saw-mill,  he  deeply 
despised  the  people  with  whom  he  lived,  and  was  hated  by 
them.  He  saw  every  day  in  the  conversation  of  the  sub- 
perfect,  M.  Valenod  and  the  other  friends  of  the  family,  about 
things  which  had  just  taken  place  under  their  very  eyes,  how 
little  ideas  corresponded  to  reality.  If  an  action  seemed  to 
Julien  worthy  of  admiration,  it  was  precisely  that  very  action 
which  would  bring  down  upon  itself  the  censure  of  the  people 
with  whom  he  lived.  His  inner  mental  reply  always  was,  "What 
beasts  or  what  fools  ! "  The  joke  was  that,  in  spite  of  all  his 
pride,  he  often  understood  absolutely  nothing  what  they  were 
talking  about. 


44  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Throughout  his  whole  life  he  had  only  spoken  sincerely  to 
the  old  Surgeon-Major. 

The  few  ideas  he  had  were  about  Buonaparte's  Italian 
Campaigns  or  else  surgery.  His  youthful  courage  revelled  in 
the  circumstantial  details  of  the  most  terrible  operations.  He 
said  to  himself. 

"  I  should  not  have  flinched." 

The  first  time  that  Madame  de  Renal  tried  to  enter  into 
conversation  independently  of  the  children's  education,  he 
began  to  talk  of  surgical  operations.  She  grew  pale  and 
asked  him  to  leave  off.  Julien  knew  nothing  beyond 
that. 

So  it  came  about  that,  though  he  passed  his  life  in  Madame 
de  Renal's  company,  the  most  singular  silence  would  reign 
between  them  as  soon  as  they  were  alone. 

When  he  was  in  the  salon,  she  noticed  in  his  eyes,  in  spite 
of  all  the  humbleness  of  his  demeanour,  an  air  of  intellectual 
superiority  towards  everyone  who  came  to  visit  her.  If  she 
found  herself  alone  with  him  for  a  single  moment,  she  saw 
that  he  was  palpably  embarrassed.  This  made  her  feel  un- 
easy, for  her  woman's  instinct  caused  her  to  realise  that  this 
embarrassment  was  not  inspired  by  any  tenderness. 

Owing  to  some  mysterious  idea,  derived  from  some  tale  of 
good  society,  such  as  the  old  Surgeon-Major  had  seen  it, 
Julien  felt  humiliated  whenever  the  conversation  languished 
on  any  occasion  when  he  found  himself  in  a  woman's  society, 
as  though  the  particular  pause  were  his  own  special  fault. 
This  sensation  was  a  huudred  times  more  painful  in  tete-a-tete. 
His  imagination,  full  as  it  was  of  the  most  extravagant  and 
most  Spanish  ideas  of  what  a  man  ought  to  say  when  he  is 
alone  with  a  woman,  only  suggested  to  the  troubled  youth 
things  which  were  absolutely  impossible.  His  soul  was  in  the 
clouds.  Nevertheless  he  was  unable  to  emerge  from  this  most 
humiliating  silence.  Consequently,  during  his  long  walks 
with  Madame  de  Renal  and  the  children,  the  severity  of  his 
manner  was  accentuated  by  the  poignancy  of  his  sufferings. 
He  despised  himself  terribly.  If,  by  any  luck,  he  made  him- 
self speak,  he  came  out  with  the  most  absurd  things.  To  put 
the  finishing  touch  on  his  misery,  he  saw  his  own  absurdity 
and  exaggerated  its  extent,  but  what  he  did  not  see  was  the 
expression  in  his  eyes,  which  were  so  beautiful  and  betokened 


THE  ELECTIVE  AFFINITIES  45 

so  ardent  a  soul,  that  like  good  actors,  they  sometimes  gave 
charm  to  something  which  is  really  devoid  of  it. 

Madame  de  Renal  noticed  that  when  he  was  alone  with  her 
he  never  chanced  to  say  a  good  thing  except  when  he  was 
taken  out  of  himself  by  some  unexpected  event,  and  conse- 
quently forgot  to  try  and  turn  a  compliment.  As  the  friends 
of  the  house  did  not  spoil  her  by  regaling  her  with  new  and 
brilliant  ideas,  she  enjoyed  with  delight  all  the  flashes  of 
Julien's  intellect. 

After  the  fall  of  Napoleon,  every  appearance  of  gallantry 
has  been  severely  exiled  from  provincial  etiquette.  People 
are  frightened  of  losing  their  jobs.  All  rascals  look  to  the 
religious  order  for  support,  aud  hypocrisy  has  made  firm 
progress  even  among  the  Liberal  classes.  One's  ennui  is 
doubled.     The  only  pleasures  left  are  reading  and  agriculture. 

Madame  de  Renal,  the  rich  heiress  of  a  devout  aunt,  and 
married  at  sixteen  to  a  respectable  gentleman,  had  never  felt 
or  seen  in  her  whole  life  anything  that  had  the  slightest 
resemblance  in  the  whole  world  to  love.  Her  confessor, 
the  good  cure*  Chelan,  had  once  mentioned  love  to  her,  in 
discussing  the  advances  of  M.  de  Valenod,  and  had  drawn  so 
loathsome  a  picture  of  the  passion  that  the  word  now  stood 
to  her  for  nothing  but  the  most  abject  debauchery.  She  had 
regarded  love,  such  as  she  had  come  across  it,  in  the  very 
small  number  of  novels  with  which  chance  had  made  her 
acquainted,  as  an  exception  if  not  indeed  as  something 
absolutely  abnormal.  It  was,  thanks  to  this  ignorance,  that 
Madame  de  Renal,  although  incessantly  absorbed  in  Julien, 
was  perfectly  happy,  and  never  thought  of  reproaching  herself 
in  the  slightest. 


CHAPTER  VIII 

LITTLE    EPISODES 

"  Then  there  were  sighs,  the  deeper  for  suppression, 
And  stolen  glances  sweeter  for  the  theft, 
And  burning  blushes,  though  for  no  transgression.' 

Don  Juan,  c.  I,  st.  74. 

It  was  only  when  Madame  de  Renal  began  to  think  of  her 
maid  Elisa  that  there  was  some  slight  change  in  that  angelic 
sweetness  which  she  owed  both  to  her  natural  character  and 
her  actual  happiness,  The  girl  had  come  into  a  fortune,  went 
to  confess  herself  to  the  cure  Chelan  and  confessed  to  him  her 
plan  of  marrying  Julien.  The  cure*  was  truly  rejoiced  at  his 
friend's  good  fortune,  but  he  was  extremely  surprised  when 
Julien  resolutely  informed  him  that  Mademoiselle  Elisa's  offer 
could  not  suit  him. 

"  Beware,  my  friend,  of  what  is  passing  within  youfheart,"  said 
the  cure  with  a  frown,  "  I  congratulate  you  on  your  mission, 
if  that  is  the  only  reason  why  you  despise  a  more  than  ample 
fortune.  It  is  fifty-six  years  since  I  was  first  cure  of  Verrieres, 
and  yet  I  shall  be  turned  out,  according  to  all  appearances. 
I  am  distressed  by  it,  and  yet  my  income  amounts  to  eight 
hundred  francs.  I  inform  you  of  this  detail  so  that  you  may 
not  be  under  any  illusions  as  to  what  awaits  you  in  your 
career  as  a  priest.  If  you  think  of  paying  court  to  the  men 
who  enjoy  power,  your  eternal  damnation  is  assured.  You 
may  make  your  fortune,  but  you  will  have  to  do  harm  to  the 
poor,  flatter  the  sub-prefect,  the  mayor,  the  man  who  enjoys 
prestige,  and  pander  to  his  passion;  this  conduct,  which  in 
the  world  is  called  knowledge  of  life,  is  not  absolutely 
incompatible  with  salvation  so  far  as  a  layman  is  concerned  ; 
but  in  our  career  we  have  to  make  a  choice ;  it  is  a  question 


LITTLE  EPISODES  47 

of  making  one's  fortune  either  in  this  world  or  the  next ;  there 
is  no  middle  course.  Come,  my  dear  friend,  reflect,  and  come 
back  in  three  days  with  a  definite  answer.  I  am  pained  to 
detect  that  there  is  at  the  bottom  of  your  character  a  sombre 
passion  which  is  far  from  indicating  to  me  that  moderation 
and  that  perfect  renunciation  of  earthly  advantages  so  necessary 
for  a  priest ;  I  augur  well  of  your  intellect,  but  allow  me  to  tell 
you,"  added  the  good  cure  with  tears  in  his  eyes,  "  I  tremble 
for  your  salvation  in  your  career  as  a  priest." 

Julien  was  ashamed  of  his  emotion ;  he  found  himself  loved 
for  the  first  time  in  his  life ;  he  wept  with  delight ;  and  went  to 
hide  his  tears  in  the  great  woods  behind  Verrieres. 

"  Why  am  I  in  this  position  ?  "  he  said  to  himself  at  last, 
"  I  feel  that  I  would  give  my  life  a  hundred  times  over  for 
this  good  cure  Chelan,  and  he  has  just  proved  to  me  that  I  am 
nothing  more  than  a  fool.  It  is  especially  necessary  for  me 
to  deceive  him,  and  he  manages  to  find  me  out.  The  secret 
ardour  which  he  refers  to  is  my  plan  of  making  my  fortune. 
He  thinks  I  am  unworthy  of  being  a  priest,  that  too,  just  when 
I  was  imagining  that  my  sacrifice  of  fifty  louis  would  give  him 
the  very  highest  idea  of  my  piety  and  devotion  to  my  mission." 

"  In  future,"  continued  Julien,  "  I  will  only  reckon  on  those 
elements  in  my  character  which  I  have  tested.  Who  could 
have  told  me  that  I  should  find  any  pleasure  in  shedding  tears  ? 
How  I  should  like  some  one  to  convince  me  that  I  am  simply 
a  fool !  " 

Three  days  later,  Julien  found  the  excuse  with  which  he 
ought  to  have  been  prepared  on  the  first  day  ;  the  excuse  was 
a  piece  of  calumny,  but  what  did  it  matter  ?  He  confessed  to 
the  cure,  with  a  great  deal  of  hesitation,  that  he  had  been 
persuaded  from  the  suggested  union  by  a  reason  he  could  not 
explain,  inasmuch  as  it  tended  to  damage  a  third  party.  This 
was  equivalent  to  impeaching  Elisa's  conduct.  M.  Chelan 
found  that  his  manner  betrayed  a  certain  worldly  fire  which 
was  very  different  from  that  which  ought  to  have  animated  a 
young  acolyte. 

"  My  friend,"  he  said  to  him  again,  "  be  a  good  country 
citizen,  respected  and  educated,  rather  than  a  priest  without  a 
true  mission." 

So  far  as  words  were  concerned,  Julien  answered  these  new 
remonstrances  very  well.      He  managed  to  find  the  words 


48  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

which  a  young  and  ardent  seminarist  would  have  employed, 
but  the  tone  in  which  he  pronounced  them,  together  with  the 
thinly  concealed  fire  which  blazed  in  his  eye,  alarmed  M. 
Chelan. 

You  must  not  have  too  bad  an  opinion  of  Julien's  prospects. 
He  invented  with  correctness  all  the  words  suitable  to  a  prudent 
and  cunning  hypocrisy.  It  was  not  bad  for  his  age.  As  for 
his  tone  and  his  gestures,  he  had  spent  his  life  with  country 
people ;  he  had  never  been  given  an  opportunity  of  seeing 
great  models.  Consequently,  as  soon  as  he  was  given  a 
chance  of  getting  near  such  gentlemen,  his  gestures  became 
as  admirable  as  his  words. 

Madame  de  Renal  was  astonished  that  her  maid's  new 
fortune  did  not  make  her  more  happy.  She  saw  her  repeatedly 
going  to  the  cure  and  coming  back  with  tears  in  her  eyes.  At 
last  Elisa  talked  to  her  of  her  marriage. 

Madame  de  Renal  thought  she  was  ill.  A  kind  of  fever 
prevented  her  from  sleeping.  She  only  lived  when  either  her 
maid  or  Julien  were  in  sight.  She  was  unable  to  think  of 
anything  except  them  and  the  happiness  which  they  would 
find  in  their  home.  Her  imagination  depicted  in  the  most 
fascinating  colours  the  poverty  of  the  little  house,  where  they 
were  to  live  on  their  income  of  fifty  louis  a  year.  J  ulien  could 
quite  well  become  an  advocate  at  Bray,  the  sub-prefecture, 
two  leagues  from  Verrieres.  In  that  case  she  would  see  him 
sometimes.  Madame  de  Renal  sincerely  believed  she  would 
go  mad.  She  said  so  to  her  husband  and  finally  fell  ill. 
That  very  evening  when  her  maid  was  attending  her,  she 
noticed  that  the  girl  was  crying.  She  abhorred  Elisa  at  that 
moment,  and  started  to  scold  her ;  she  then  begged  her 
pardon.  Elisa's  tears  redoubled.  She  said  if  her  mistress 
would  allow  her,  she  would  tell  her  all  her  unhappiness. 

"  Tell  me,"  answered  Madame  de  Renal. 

"  Well,  Madame,  he  refuses  me,  some  wicked  people  must 
have  spoken  badly  about  me.     He  believes  them." 

"  Who  refuses  you  ? "  said  Madame  de  Renal,  scarcely 
breathing. 

"  Who  else,  Madame,  but  M.  Julien,"  answered  the  maid 
sobbing.  "  M.  the  cure  had  been  unable  to  overcome  his 
resistance,  for  M.  the  cure  thinks  that  he  ought  not  to  refuse 
an  honest  girl  on  the  pretext  that  she  has  been  a  maid.     After 


LITTLE  EPISODS  49 

all,  M.  Julien's  father  is  nothing  more  than  a  carpenter, 
and  how  did  he  himself  earn  his  living  before  he  was  at 
Madame's  ?  " 

Madame  de  Rena  stopped  listening ;  her  excessive  happiness 
had  almost  deprived  her  of  her  reason.  She  made  the  girl 
repeat  several  times  the  assurance  that  Julien  had  refused  her, 
with  a  positiveness  which  shut  the  door  on  the  possibility  of 
his  coming  round  to  a  more  prudent  decision. 

"  I  will  make  a  last  attempt,"  she  said  to  her  maid.  "  I 
will  speak  to  M.  Julien." 

The  following  day,  after  breakfast,  Madame  de  Renal 
indulged  in  the  delightful  luxury  of  pleading  her  rival's  cause, 
and  of  seeing  Elisa's  hand  and  fortune  stubbornly  refused  for 
a  whole  hour. 

Julien  gradually  emerged  from  his  cautiously  worded  answers, 
and  finished  by  answering  with  spirit  Madame  de  Renal's 
good  advice.  She  could  not  help  being  overcome  by  the 
torrent  of  happiness  which,  after  so  many  days  of  despair, 
now  inundated  her  soul.  She  felt  quite  ill.  When  she  had 
recovered  and  was  comfortably  in  her  own  room  she  sent 
everyone  away.     She  was  profoundly  astonished. 

"  Can  I  be  in  love  with  Julien  ?  "  she  finally  said  to  herself. 
This  discovery,  which  at  any  other  time  would  have  plunged 
her  into  remorse  and  the  deepest  agitation,  now  only  produced 
the  effect  of  a  singular,  but  as  it  were,  indifferent  spectacle. 
Her  soul  was  exhausted  by  all  that  she  had  just  gone  through, 
and  had  no  more  sensibility  to  passion  left. 

Madame  de  Renal  tried  to  work,  and  fell  into  a  deep  sleep ; 
when  she  woke  up  she  did  not  frighten  herself  so  much  as 
she  ought  to  have.  She  was  too  happy  to  be  able  to  see 
anything  wrong  in  anything.  Naive  and  innocent  as  she 
was,  this  worthy  provincial  woman  had  never  tortured  her 
soul  in  her  endeavours  to  extract  from  it  a  little  sensibility 
to  some  new  shade  of  sentiment  or  unhappiness.  Entirely 
absorbed  as  she  had  been  before  Julien's  arrival  with  that 
mass  of  work  which  falls  to  the  lot  of  a  good  mistress  of  a 
household  away  from  Paris,  Madame  de  Renal  thought  of 
passion  in  the  same  way  in  which  we  think  of  a  lottery :  a 
certain  deception,  a  happiness  sought  after  by  fools. 

The  dinner  bell  rang.  Madame  de  Renal  blushed  violently. 
She  heard  the  voice  of  Julien  who  was  bringing  in  the  children. 

4 


50  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Having  grown  somewhat  adroit  since  her  falling  in  love,  she 
complained  of  an  awful  headache  in  order  to  explain  her 
redness. 

"That's  just  like  what  all  women  are,"  answered  M.  de 
Renal  with  a  coarse  laugh.  "Those  machines  have  always 
got  something  or  other  to  be  put  right." 

Although  she  was  accustomed  to  this  type  of  wit,  Madame 
de  Renal  was  shocked  by  the  tone  of  voice.  In  order  to 
distract  herself,  she  looked  at  Julien's  physiognomy ;  he 
would  have  pleased  her  at  this  particular  moment,  even 
if  he  had  been  the  ugliest  man  imaginable. 

M.  de  Renal,  who  always  made  a  point  of  copying  the 
habits  of  the  gentry  of  the  court,  established  himself  at  Vergy 
in  the  first  fine  days  of  the  spring ;  this  is  the  village  rendered 
celebrated  by  the  tragic  adventure  of  Gabrielle.  A  hundred 
paces  from  the  picturesque  ruin  of  the  old  Gothic  church, 
M.  de  Renal  owns  an  old  chateau  with  its  four  towers  and 
a  garden  designed  like  the  one  in  the  Tuileries  with  a  great 
many  edging  verges  of  box  and  avenues  of  chestnut  trees 
which  are  cut  twice  in  the  year.  An  adjacent  field,  crowded 
with  apple  trees,  served  for  a  promenade.  Eight  or  ten 
magnificent  walnut  trees  were  at  the  end  of  the  orchard. 
Their  immense  foliage  went  as  high  as  perhaps  eighty  feet. 

"  Each  of  these  cursed  walnut  trees,"  M.  de  Renal  was  in 
the  habit  of  saying,  whenever  his  wife  admired  them,  "  costs 
me  the  harvest  of  at  least  half  an  acre;  corn  cannot  grow 
under  their  shade." 

Madame  de  Renal  found  the  sight  of  the  country  novel : 
her  admiration  reached  the  point  of  enthusiasm.  The  sentiment 
by  which  she  was  animated  gave  her  both  ideas  and  resolution. 
M.  de  Renal  had  returned  to  the  town,  for  mayoral  business, 
two  days  after  their  arrival  in  Vergy.  But  Madame  de  Renal 
engaged  workmen  at  her  own  expense.  Julien  had  given  her 
the  idea  of  a  little  sanded  path  which  was  to  go  round  the 
orchard  and  under  the  big  walnut  trees,  and  render  it  possible 
for  the  children  to  take  their  walk  in  the  very  earliest  hours 
of  the  morning  without  getting  their  feet  wet  from  the  dew. 
This  idea  was  put  into  execution  within  twenty-four  hours  of 
its  being  conceived.  Madame  de  Renal  gaily  spent  the  whole 
day  with  Julien  in  supervising  the  workmen. 

When  the  Mayor  ot  Verrieres  came   back  from  the  town 


LITTLE  EPISODS  51 

he  was  very  surprised  to  find  the  avenue  completed.  His 
arrival  surprised  Madame  de  Renal  as  well.  She  had  forgotten 
his  existence.  For  two  months  he  talked  with  irritation  about 
the  boldness  involved  in  making  so  important  a  repair  without 
consulting  him,  but  Madame  de  Renal  had  had  it  executed 
at  her  own  expense,  a  fact  which  somewhat  consoled  him. 

She  spent  her  days  in  running  about  the  orchard  with  her 
children,  and  in  catching  butterflies.  They  had  made  big 
hoods  of  clear  gauze  with  which  they  caught  the  poor 
lepidoptera.  This  is  the  barbarous  name  which  Julien  taught 
Madame  de  Renal.  For  she  had  had  M.  Godart's  fine  work 
ordered  from  Besancon,  and  Julien  used  to  tell  her  about 
the  strange  habits  of  the  creatures. 

They  ruthlessly  transfixed  them  by  means  of  pins  in  a 
great  cardboard  box  which  Julien  had  prepared. 

Madame  de  Renal  and  Julien  had  at  last  a  topic  of 
conversation ;  he  was  no  longer  exposed  to  the  awful  torture 
that  had  been  occasioned  by  their  moments  of  silence. 

They  talked  incessantly  and  with  extreme  interest,  though 
always  about  very  innocent  matters.  This  gay,  full,  active 
life,  pleased  the  fancy  of  everyone,  except  Mademoiselle  Elisa 
who  found  herself  overworked.  Madame  had  never  taken 
so  much  trouble  with  her  dress,  even  at  carnival  time,  when 
there  is  a  ball  at  Verrieres,  she  would  say ;  she  changes  her 
gowns  two  or  three  times  a  day. 

As  it  is  not  our  intention  to  flatter  anyone,  we  do  not 
propose  to  deny  that  Madame  de  Renal,  who  had  a  superb 
skin,  arranged  her  gowns  in  such  a  way  as  to  leave  her  arms 
and  her  bosom  very  exposed.  She  was  extremely  well  made, 
and  this  style  of  dress  suited  her  delightfully. 

"You  have  never  been  so  yoting,  Madame,"  her  Verrieres 
friends  would  say  to  her,  when  they  came  to  dinner  at  Vergy 
(this  is  one  of  the  local  expressions). 

It  is  a  singular  thing,  and  one  which  few  amongst  us  will 
believe,  but  Madame  de  Renal  had  no  specific  object  in 
taking  so  much  trouble.  She  found  pleasure  in  it  and  spent 
all  the  time  which  she  did  not  pass  in  hunting  butterflies  with 
the  children  and  Julien,  in  working  with  Elisa  at  making 
gowns,  without  giving  the  matter  a  further  thought.  Her 
only  expedition  to  Verrieres  was  caused  by  her  desire  to  buy 
some  new  summer  gowns  which  had  just  come  from  Mulhouse. 


52  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

She  brought  back  to  Vergy  a  young  woman  who  was  a 
relative  of  hers.  Since  her  marriage,  Madame  de  Renal  had 
gradually  become  attached  to  Madame  Derville,  who  had 
once  been  her  school  mate  at  the  Sacr  Coeur. 

Madame  Derville  laughed  a  great  deal  at  what  she  called 
her  cousin's  mad  ideas :  "  I  would  never  have  thought  of 
them  alone,"  she  said.  When  Madame  de  Renal  was  with  her 
husband,  she  was  ashamed  of  those  sudden  ideas,  which,  are 
called  sallies  in  Paris,  and  thought  them  quite  silly :  but 
Madame  Derville's  presence  gave  her  courage.  She  would 
start  to  telling  her  her  thoughts  in  a  timid  voice,  but  after 
the  ladies  had  been  alone  for  a  long  time,  Madame  de  Renal's 
brain  became  more  animated,  and  a  long  morning  spent 
together  by  the  two  friends  passed  like  a  second,  and  left  them 
in  the  best  of  spirits.  On  this  particular  journey,  however, 
the  acute  Madame  Derville  thought  her  cousin  much  less 
merry,  but  much  more  happy  than  usual. 

Julien,  on  his  side,  had  since  coming  to  the  country  lived 
like  an  absolute  child,  and  been  as  happy  as  his  pupils  in 
running  after  the  butterflies.  After  so  long  a  period  of 
constraint  and  wary  diplomacy,  he  was  at  last  alone  and  far 
from  human  observation ;  he  was  instinctively  free  from  any 
apprehension  on  the  score  of  Madame  de  Renal,  and 
abandoned  himself  to  the  sheer  pleasure  of  being  alive,  which 
is  so  keen  at  so  young  an  age,  especially  among  the  most 
beautiful  mountains  in  the  world. 

Ever  since  Madame  Derville's  arrival,  Julien  thought  that 
she  was  his  friend ;  he  took  the  first  opportunity  of  showing 
her  the  view  from  the  end  of  the  new  avenue,  under  the 
walnut  tree;  as  a  matter  of  fact  it  is  equal,  if  not  superior, 
to  the  most  wonderful  views  that  Switzerland  and  the  Italian 
lakes  can  offer.  If  you  ascend  the  steep  slope  which  com- 
mences some  paces  from  there,  you  soon  arrive  at  great 
precipices  fringed  by  oak  forests,  which  almost  jut  on  to  the 
river.  It  was  to  the  peaked  summits  of  these  rocks  that 
Julien,  who  was  now  happy,  free,  and  king  of  the  household 
into  the  bargain,  would  take  the  two  friends,  and  enjoy  their 
admiration  these  sublime  views. 

"  To  me  it's  like  Mozart's  music,"  Madame  Derville  would 
say. 

The  country  around  Verrieres  had  been  spoilt  for  Julien 


LITTLE  EPISODES  53 

by  the  jealousy  of  his  brothers  and  the  presence  of  a  tyranous 
and  angry  father.  He  was  free  from  these  bitter  memories 
at  Vergy;  for  the  first  time  in  his  life,  he  failed  to  see  an 
enemy.  When,  as  frequently  happened,  M.  de  Renal  was  in 
town,  he  ventured  to  read ;  soon,  instead  of  reading  at  night 
time,  a  procedure,  moreover,  which  involved  carefully  hiding 
his  lamp  at  the  bottom  of  a  flower-pot  turned  upside  dowri, 
he  was  able  to  indulge  in  sleep ;  in  the  day,  however,  in  the 
intervals  between  the  children's  lessons,  he  would  come  among 
these  rocks  with  that  book  which  was  the  one  guide  of  his 
conduct  and  object  of  his  enthusiasm.  He  found  in  it 
simultaneously  happiness,  ecstasy  and  consolation  for  his 
moments  of  discouragement. 

Certain  remarks  of  Napoleon  about  women,  several  dis- 
cussions about  the  merits  of  the  novels  which  were  fashionable 
in  his  reign,  furnished  him  now  for  the  first  time  with  some 
ideas  which  any  other  young  man  of  his  age  would  have  had 
for  a  long  time. 

The  dog  days  arrived.  They  started  the  habit  of  spending 
the  evenings  under  an  immense  pine  tree  some  yards  from  the 
house.  The  darkness  was  profound.  One  evening,  Julien  was 
speaking  and  gesticulating,  enjoying  to  the  full  the  pleasure  of 
being  at  his  best  when  talking  to  young  women ;  in  one  of  his 
gestures,  he  touched  the  hand  of  Madame  de  Renal  which 
was  leaning  on  the  back  of  one  of  those  chairs  of  painted 
wood,  which  are  so  frequently  to  be  seen  in  gardens. 

The  hand  was  quickly  removed,  but  Julien  thought  it  a 
point  of  duty  to  secure  that  that  hand  should  not  be  removed 
when  he  touched  it.  The  idea  of  a  duty  to  be  performed  and 
the  consciousness  of  his  stultification,  or  rather  of  his  social 
inferiority,  if  he  should  fail  in  acheiving  it,  immediately 
banished  all  pleasure  from  his  heart. 


CHAPTER  IX 

AN    EVENING    IN    THE   COUNTRY 
M.  Guerin's  Dido,  a  charming  sketch  !  —Strombeck. 

His  expression  was  singular  when  he  saw  Madame  de  Renal 
the  next  day;  he  watched  her  like  an  enemy  with  whom  he 
would  have  to  fight  a  duel.  These  looks,  which  were  so 
different  from  those  of  the  previous  evening,  made  Madame 
de  Renal  lose  her  head ;  she  had  been  kind  to  him  and  he 
appeared  angry.     She  could  not  take  her  eyes  off  his. 

Madame  Derville's  presence  allowed  Julien  to  devote  less 
time  to  conversation,  and  more  time  to  thinking  about  what 
he  had  in  his  mind.  His  one  object  all  this  day  was  to  fortify 
himself  by  reading  the  inspired  book  that  gave  strength  to 
his  soul. 

He  considerably  curtailed  the  children's  lessons,  and  when 
Madame  de  Renal's  presence  had  effectually  brought  him  back 
to  the  pursuit  of  his  ambition,  he  decided  that  she  absolutely 
must  allow  her  hand  to  rest  in  his  that  evening. 

The  setting  of  the  sun  which  brought  the  crucial  moment 
nearer  and  nearer  made  Julien's  heart  beat  in  a  strange  way. 
Night  came.  He  noticed  with  a  joy,  which  took  an  immense 
weight  off  his  heart,  that  it  was  going  to  be  very  dark.  The 
sky,  which  was  laden  with  big  clouds  that  had  been  brought 
along  by  a  sultry  wind,  seemed  to  herald  a  storm.  The  two 
friends  went  for  their  walk  very  late.  All  they  did  that  night 
struck  Julien  as  strange.  They  were  enjoying  that  hour  which 
seems  to  give  certain  refined  souls  an  increased  pleasure  in 
loving. 

At  last  they  sat  down,  Madame  de  Renal  beside  Julien,  and 
Madame  Derville  near  her  friend.     Engrossed  as  he  was  by 


AN  EVENING  IN  THE  COUNTRY  55 

the  attempt  which  he  was  going  to  make,  Julien  could  think 
of  nothing  to  say.     The  conversation  languished. 

"Shall  I  be  as  nervous  and  miserable  over  my  first  duel?  " 
said  Julien  to  himself;  for  he  was  too  suspicious  both  of  him- 
self and  of  others,  not  to  realise  his  own  mental  state. 

In  his  mortal  anguish,  he  would  have  preferred  any  danger 
whatsoever.  How  many  times  did  he  not  wish  some  matter 
to  crop  up  which  would  necessitate  Madame  de  Renal  going 
into  the  house  and  leaving  the  garden !  The  violent  strain  on 
Julien's  nerves  was  too  great  for  his  voice  not  to  be  considers 
ably  changed ;  soon  Madame  de  Renal's  voice  became  nervoua 
as  well,  but  Julien  did  not  notice  it.  The  awful  battle  raging 
between  duty  and  timidity  was  too  painful,  for  him  to  be  in  -- 
position  to  observe  anything  outside  himself.  A  quarter  to 
ten  had  just  struck  on  the  chateau  clock  without  his  having 
ventured  anything.  Julien  was  indignant  at  his  own  coward 
ice,  and  said  to  himself,  "  at  the  exact  moment  when  ten  o'clock 
strikes,  I  will  perform  what  I  have  resolved  to  do  all  through 
the  day,  or  I  will  go  up  to  my  room  and  blow  out  my 
brains." 

After  a  final  moment  of  expectation  and  anxiety,  during 
which  Julien  was  rendered  almost  beside  himself  by  his  ex- 
cessive emotion,  ten  o'clock  struck  from  the  clock  over  his 
head.  Each  stroke  of  the  fatal  clock  reverberated  in  his 
bosom,  and  caused  an  almost  physical  pang. 

Finally,  when  the  last  stroke  of  ten  was  still  reverberating, 
he  stretched  out  his  hand  and  took  Madame  de  Renal's,  who 
immediately  withdrew  it.  Julien,  scarcely  knowing  what  he 
was  doing,  seized  it  again.  In  spite  of  his  own  excitement,  he 
could  not  help  being  struck  by  the  icy  coldness  of  the  hand 
which  he  was  taking ;  he  pressed  it  convulsively ;  a  last  effort 
was  made  to  take  it  away,  but  in  the  end  the  hand  remained 
in  his. 

His  soul  was  inundated  with  happiness,  not  that  he  loved 
Madame  de  Renal,  but  an  awful  torture  had  just  ended.  He 
thought  it  necessary  to  say  something,  to  avoid  Madame 
Derville  noticing  anything.  His  voice  was  now  strong  and 
ringing.  Madame  de  Renal's,  on  the  contrary,  betrayed  so 
much  emotion  that  her  friend  thought  she  was  ill,  and  sug- 
gested her  going  in.  Julien  scented  danger,  "  if  Madame  de 
Renal  goes  back  to  the  salon,  I  shall  relapse  into  the  awful 


56  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

state  in  which  I  have  been  all  day.  I  have  held  the  hand  far 
too  short  a  time  for  it  really  to  count  as  the  scoring  of  an 
actual  advantage." 

At  the  moment  when  Madame  Derville  was  repeating  her 
suggestion  to  go  back  to  the  salon,  Julien  squeezed  vigor- 
ously the  hand  that  was  abandoned  to  him. 

Madame  de  Renal,  who  had  started  to  get  up,  sat  down 
again  and  said  in  a  faint  voice, 

"  I  feel  a  little  ill,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  but  the  open  air  is 
doing  me  good." 

These  words  confirmed  Julien's  happiness,  which  at  the 
present  moment  was  extreme ;  he  spoke,  he  forgot  to  pose, 
and  appeared  the  most  charming  man  in  the  world  to  the  two 
friends  who  were  listening  to  him.  Nevertheless,  there  was  a 
slight  lack  of  courage  in  all  this  eloquence  which  had  suddenly 
come  upon  him.  He  was  mortally  afraid  that  Madame 
Derville  would  get  tired  of  the  wind  before  the  storm,  which 
was  beginning  to  rise,  and  want  to  go  back  alone  into  the 
salon.  He  would  then  have  remained  tete  a-tete  with  Madame 
de  Renal.  He  had  had,  almost  by  accident  that  blind  courage 
which  is  sufficient  for  action ;  but  he  felt  that  it  was  out  of  his 
power  to  speak  the  simplest  word  to  Madame  de  Renal.  He 
was  certain  that,  however  slight  her  reproaches  might  be,  he 
would  nevertheless  be  worsted,  and  that  the  advantage  he  had 
just  won  would  be  destroyed. 

Luckily  for  him  on  this  evening,  his  moving  and  emphatic 
speeches  found  favour  with  Madame  Derville,  who  very  often 
found  him  as  clumsy  as  a  child  and  not  at  all  amusing.  As 
for  Madame  de  Renal,  with  her  hand  in  Julien's,  she  did  not 
have  a  thought;  she  simply  allowed  herself  to  go  on  living. 
The  hours  spent  under  this  great  pine  tree,  planted  by 
by  Charles  the  Bold  according  to  the  local  tradition,  were  a 
real  period  of  happiness.  She  listened  with  delight  to  the 
soughing  of  the  wind  in  the  thick  foliage  of  the  pine  tree 
and  to  the  noise  of  some  stray  drops  which  were  beginning  to 
fall  upon  the  leaves  which  were  lowest  down.  Julien  failed 
to  notice  one  circumstance  which,  if  he  had,  would  have 
quickly  reassured  him;  MSsdame  de  Renal,  who  had  been 
obliged  to  take  away  her  hand,  because  she  had  got  up  to  help 
her  cousin  to  pick  up  a  flower-pot  which  the  wind  had  knocked 
over  at  her  feet,  had  scarcely  sat  down  again  before  she  gave 


AN  EVENING  IN  THE  COUNTRY  57 

him  her  hand  with  scarcely  any  difficulty  and  as  though  it  had 
already  been  a  pre-arranged  thing  between  them. 

Midnight  had  struck  a  long  timo  ago ;  it  was  at  last  neces- 
sary to  leave  the  garden  ;  they  separated.  Madame  de  Renal 
swept  away  as  she  was,  by  the  happiness  of  loving,  was  so 
completely  ignorant  of  the  world  that  she  scarcely  reproached 
herself  at  all.  Her  happiness  deprived  her  of  her  sleep.  A 
leaden  sleep  overwhelmed  Julien  who  was  mortally  fatigued  by 
the  battle  which  timidity  and  pride  had  waged  in  his  heart  all 
through  the  day. 

He  was  called  at  five  o'clockon   the  following   day   and 
scarcely  gave  Madame  de  Renal  a  single  thought. 

He  had  accomplished  his  duty,  and  a  heroic  duty  too. 
The  conciousness  of  this  filled  him  with  happiness ;  he  locked 
himself  in  his  room,  and  abandoned  himself  with  quite  a  new 
pleasure  to  reading  exploits  of  his  hero. 

When  the  breakfast  bell  sounded,  the  reading  of  the 
Bulletins  of  the  Great  Army  had  made  him  forget  all  his 
advantages  of  the  previous  day.  He  said  to  himself  flippantly, 
as  he  went  down  to  the  salon,  "  I  must  tell  that  woman  that  I 
am  in  love  with  her."  Instead  of  those  looks  brimful  of 
pleasure  which  he  was  expecting  to  meet,  he  found  the  stern 
visage  of  M.  de  Renal,  who  had  arrived  from  Verrieres  two 
hours  ago,  and  did  not  conceal  his  dissatisfaction  at  Julien's 
having  passed  the  whole  morning  without  attending  to  the 
children.  Nothing  could  have  been  more  sordid  than  this 
self-important  man  when  he  was  in  a  bad  temper  and  thought 
that  he  could  safely  show  it. 

Each  harsh  word  of  her  husband  pierced  Madame  de 
Renal's  heart. 

As  for  Julien,  he  was  so  plunged  in  his  ecstasy,  and  still  so 
engrossed  by  the  great  events  which  had  been  passing  before 
his  eyes  for  several  hours,  that  he  had  some  difficulty  at  first 
in  bringing  his  attention  sufficiently  down  to  listen  to  the  harsh 
remarks  which  M.  de  Renal  was  addressing  to  him.  He  said 
to  him  at  last,  rather  abruptly, 

"  I  was  ill." 

The  tone  of  this  answer  would  have  stung  a  much  less 
sensitive  man  than  the  mayor  of  Verrieres.  He  half  thought 
of  answering  Julien  by  turning  him  out  of  the  house  straight 
away.     He  was  only  restrained  by  the  maxim  which  he  had 


58  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

prescribed  for  himself,  of  never  hurrying  unduly  in  business 
matters. 

"The  young  fool,"  he  said  to  himself  shortly  afterwards, 
"has  won  a  kind  of  reputation  in  my  house.  That  man 
Valenod  may  take  him  into  his  family,  or  he  may  quite  well 
marry  Elisa,  and  in  either  case,  he  will  be  able  to  have  the 
laugh  of  me  in  his  heart." 

In  spite  of  the  wisdom  of  these  reflections,  M.  de  Renal's 
dissatisfaction  did  not  fail  to  vent  itself  any  the  less  by  a  string 
of  coarse  insults  which  gradually  irritated  Julien.  Madame 
de  Renal  was  on  the  point  of  bursting  into  tears.  Breakfast 
was  scarcely  over,  when  she  asked  Julien  to  give  her  his  arm 
for  a  walk.  She  leaned  on  him  affectionately.  Julien  could 
only  answer  all  that  Madame  de  Renal  said  to  him  by 
whispering. 

"  Thafs  what  rich  people  are  like/" 

M.  de  Renal  was  walking  quite  close  to  them ;  his  presence 
increased  Julien's  anger.  He  suddenly  noticed  that  Madame 
de  Renal  was  leaning  on  his  arm  in  a  manner  which  was  some- 
what marked.  This  horrified  him,  and  he  pushed  her  violently 
away  and  disengaged  his  arm. 

Luckily,  M.  de  Renal  did  not  see  this  new  piece  of  im- 
pertinence ;  it  was  only  noticed  by  Madame  Derville.  Her  friend 
burst  into  tears.  M.  de  Renal  now  started  to  chase  away  by 
a  shower  of  stones  a  little  peasant  girl  who  had  taken  a  private 
path  crossing  a  corner  of  the  orchard.  "Monsieur  Julien, 
restrain  yourself,  I  pray  you.  Remember  that  we  all  have  our 
moments  of  temper,"  said  madame  Derville  rapidly. 

Julien  looked  at  her  coldly  with  eyes  in  which  the  most 
supreme  contempt  was  depicted. 

This  look  astonished  Madame  Derville,  and  it  would  have 
surprised  her  even  more  if  she  had  appreciated  its  real  ex- 
pression ;  she  would  have  read  in  it  something  like  a  vague 
hope  of  the  most  atrocious  vengeance.  It  is,  no  doubt,  such 
moments  of  humiliation  which  have  made  Robespierres. 

"Your  Julien  is  very  violent;  he  frightens  me,"  said 
Madame  Derville  to  her  friend,  in  a  low  voice. 

"  He  is  right  to  be  angry,"  she  answered.  "  What  does  it 
matter  if  he  does  pass  a  morning  without  speaking  to  the 
children,  after  the  astonishing  progress  .which  he  has  made 
them  make.     One  must  admit  that  men  are  very  hard." 


AN  EVENING  IN  THE  COUNTRY  59 

For  the  first  time  in  her  life  Madame  de  Renal  experienced 
a  kind  of  desire  for  vengeance  against  her  husband.  The 
extreme  hatred  of  the  rich  by  which  Julien  was  animated  was 
on  the  point  of  exploding.  Luckily,  M.  de  Renal  called  his 
gardener,  and  remained  occupied  with  him  in  barring  by 
faggots  of  thorns  the  private  road  through  the  orchard.  Julien 
did  not  vouchsafe  any  answer  to  the  kindly  consideration  of 
which  he  was  the  object  during  all  the  rest  of  the  walk.  M. 
de  Renal  had  scarcely  gone  away  before  the  two  friends  made 
the  excuse  of  being  fatigued,  and  each  asked  him  for  an  arm. 

Walking  as  he  did  between  these  two  women  whose  extreme 
nervousness  filled  their  cheeks  with  a  blushing  embarrassment, 
the  haughty  pallor  and  sombre,  resolute  air  of  Julien  formed 
a  strange  contrast.  He  despised  these  women  and  all  tender 
sentiments. 

"  What ! "  he  said  to  himself,  "  not  even  an  income  of  five 
hundred  francs  to  finish  my  studies  !  Ah  !  how  I  should  like 
to  send  them  packing." 

And  absorbed  as  he  was  by  these  stern  ideas,  such  few 
courteous  words  of  his  two  friends  as  he  deigned  to  take  the 
trouble  to  understand,  displeased  him  as  devoid  of  sense,  silly, 
feeble,  in  a  word — feminine. 

As  the  result  of  speaking  for  the  sake  of  speaking  and  of 
endeavouring  to  keep  the  conversation  alive,  it  came  about 
that  Madame  de  Renal  mentioned  that  her  husband  had  come 
from  Verrieres  because  he  had  made  a  bargain  for  the  May 
straw  with  one  of  his  farmers.  (In  this  district  it  is  the  May 
straw  with  which  the  bed  mattresses  are  filled). 

"  My  husband  will  not  rejoin  us,"  added  Madame  de  Renal ; 
"he  will  occupy  himself  with  finishing  the  re-stuffing  of  the 
house  mattresses  with  the  help  of  the  gardener  and  his  valet. 
He  has  put  the  May  straw  this  morning  in  all  the  beds  on  the 
first  storey ;  he  is  now  at  the  second." 

Julien  changed  colour.  He  looked  at  Madame  de  Renal  in 
a  singular  way,  and  soon  managed  somehow  to  take  her  on 
one  side,  doubling  his  pace.  Madame  Derville  allowed  them 
to  get  ahead. 

"Save  my  life,"  said  Julien  to  Madame  de  Renal;  "only 
you  can  do  it,  for  you  know  that  the  valet  hates  me 
desperately.  I  must  confess  to  you,  madame,  that  I  have  a 
portrait.     I  have  hidden  it  in  the  mattress  of  my  bed." 


6o  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

At  these  words  Madame  de  Renal  in  her  turn  became  pale 

"Only  you,  Madame,  are  aMe  at  this  moment  to  go  into 
my  room,  feel  about  without  their  noticing  in  the  corner  of 
the  mattress ;  it  is  nearest  the  window.  You  will  find  a  small, 
round  box  of  black  cardboard,  very  glossy." 

"  Does  it  contain  a  portrait  ? "  said  Madame  de  Renal, 
scarcely  able  to  hold  herself  upright. 

Julien  noticed  her  air  of  discouragement,  and  at  once  pro- 
ceeded to  exploit  it. 

"  I  have  a  second  favour  to  ask  you,  madame.  1  entreat 
you  not  to  look  at  that  portrait;  it  is  my  secret." 

"  It  is  a  secret,"  repeated  Madame  de  Renal  in  a  faint 
voice. 

But  though  she  had  been  brought  up  among  people  who 
are  proud  of  their  fortune  and  appreciative  of  nothing  except 
money,  love  had  already  instilled  generosity  into  her  soul. 
Truly  wounded  as  she  was,  it  was  with  an  air  of  the  most 
simple  devotion  that  Madame  de  Renal  asked  Julien  the 
questions  necessary  to  enable  her  to  fulfil  her  commission. 

"  So  "  she  said  to  him  as  she  went  away,  "  it  is  a  little  round 
box  of  black  cardboard,  very  glossy." 

"  Yes,  Madame,"  answered  Julien,  with  that  hardness  which 
danger  gives  to  men. 

She  ascended  the  second  storey  of  the  chateau  as  pale  as 
though  she  had  been  going  to  her  death.  Her  misery  was 
completed  by  the  sensation  that  she  was  on  the  verge  of 
falling  ill,  but  the  necessity  of  doing  Julien  a  service  restored 
her  strength. 

"  I  must  have  that  box,"  she  said  to  herself,  as  she  doubled 
her  pace. 

She  heard  her  husband  speaking  to  the  valet  in  Julien's  very 
room.  Happily,  they  passed  into  the  children's  room.  She 
lifted  up  the  mattress,  and  plunged  her  hand  into  the  stuffing 
so  violently  that  she  bruised  her  fingers.  But,  though  she 
was  very  sensitive  to  slight  pain  of  this  kind,  she  was  not 
conscious  of  it  now,  for  she  felt  almost  simultaneously  the 
smooth  surface  of  the  cardboard  box.  She  seized  it  and 
disappeared. 

She  had  scarcely  recovered  from  the  fear  of  being  surprised 
by  her  husband  than  the  horror  with  which  this  box  inspired 
her  came  within  an  ace  of  positively  making  her  feel  ill. 


AN  EVENING  IN  THE  COUNTRY  61 

"So  Julien  is  in  love,  and  I  hold  here  the  portrait  of  the 
woman  whom  he  loves  !  " 

Seated  on  the  chair  in  the  ante-chamber  of  his  apartment, 
Madame  de  Renal  fell  a  prey  to  all  the  horrors  of  jealousy. 
Her  extreme  ignorance,  moreover,  was  useful  to  her  at  this 
juncture ;  her  astonishment  mitigated  her  grief.  Julien  seized 
the  box  without  thanking  her  or  saying  a  single  word,  and  ran 
into  his  room,  where  he  lit  a  fire  and  immediately  burnt  it. 
He  was  pale  and  in  a  state  of  collapse.  He  exaggerated  the 
extent  of  the  danger  which  he  had  undergone. 

"  Finding  Napoleon's  portrait,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  in  the 
possession  of  a  man  who  professes  so  great  a  hate  for  the 
usurper !  Found,  too,  by  M.  de  Renal,  who  is  so  great  an 
ultra,  and  is  now  in  a  state  of  irritation,  and,  to  complete  my 
imprudence,  lines  written  in  my  own  handwriting  on  the 
white  cardboard  behind  the  portrait,  lines,  too,  which  can 
leave  no  doubt  on  the  score  of  my  excessive  admiration.  And 
each  of  these  transports  of  love  is  dated.  There  was  one  the 
day  before  yesterday." 

"  All  my  reputation  collapsed  and  shattered  in  a  moment," 
said  Julien  to  himself  as  he  watched  the  box  burn,  "and  my 
reputation  is  my  only  asset.  It  is  all  I  have  to  live  by — and 
what  a  life  to,  by  heaven  !  " 

An  hour  afterwards,  this  fatigue,  togother  with  the  pity 
which  he  felt  for  himself  made  him  inclined  to  be  more 
tender.  He  met  Madame  de  Renal  and  took  her  hand, 
which  he  kissed  with  more  sincerity  than  he  had  ever  done 
before.  She  blushed  with  happiness  and  almost  simultaneously 
rebuffed  Julien  with  all  the  anger  of  jealousy.  Julien's  pride 
which  had  been  so  recently  wounded  made  him  act  foolishly 
at  this  juncture.  He  saw  in  Madame  de  Renal  nothing  but 
a  rich  woman,  he  disdainfully  let  her  hand  fall  and  went  away. 
He  went  and  walked  about  meditatively  in  the  garden.  Soon 
a  bitter  smile  appeared  on  his  lips. 

"  Here  I  am  walking  about  as  serenely  as  a  man  who  is 
master  of  his  own  time.  I  am  not  bothering  about  the 
children  !  I  am  exposing  myself  to  M.  de  Renal's  humiliating 
remarks,  and  he  will  be  quite  right."  He  ran  to  the  children's 
room.  The  caresses  of  the  youngest  child,  whom  he  loved 
very  much,  somewhat  calmed  his  agony. 

"  He  does  not  despise  me  yet,"  thought  Julien.     But  he  soon 


6z  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

reproached  himself  for  this  alleviation  of  his  agony  as  though 
it  were  a  new  weakness.  The  children  caress  me  just  in  the 
same  way  in  which  they  would  caress  the  young  hunting- 
hound  which  was  bought  yesterday. 


CHAPTER  X 

A  GREAT  HEART  AND  A  SMALL  FORTUNE 

But  passion  most  disembles,  yet  betrays, 
Even  by  its  darkness,  as  the  blackest  sky 
Foretells  the  heaviest  tempest. 

Don  Juan,  c.  4,  st.  75. 

M.  de  Renal  was  going  through  all  the  rooms  in  the  chteau, 
and  he  came  back  into  the  children's  room  with  the  servants 
who  were  bringing  back  the  stuffings  of  the  mattresses.  The 
sudden  entry  of  this  man  had  the  effect  on  Julien  of  the  drop 
of  water  which  makes  the  pot  overflow. 

Looking  paler  and  more  sinister  than  usual,  he  rushed 
towards  him.  M.  de  Renal  stopped  and  looked  at  his 
servants. 

"  Monsieur,"  said  Julien  to  him,  "  Do  you  think  your 
children  would  have  made  the  progress  they  have  made  with 
me  with  any  other  tutor?  If  you  answer  'No,'"  continued 
Julien  so  quickly  that  M.  de  Renal  did  not  have  time  to 
speak,  "  how  dare  you  reproach  me  with  neglecting  them  ?  " 

M.  de  Renal,  who  had  scarcely  recovered  from  his  fright, 
concluded  from  the  strange  tone  he  saw  this  little  peasant 
assume,  that  he  had  some  advantageous  offer  in  his  pocket, 
and  that  he  was  going  to  leave  him. 

The  more  he  spoke  the  more  Julien's  anger  increased,  "  I 
can  live  without  you,  Monsieur,"  he  added. 

"  I  am  really  sorry  to  see  you  so  upset,"  answered  M.  de 
Renal  shuddering  a  little.  The  servants  were  ten  yards  off 
engaged  in  making  the  beds. 

"That  is  not  what  I  mean,  Monsieur,"  replied  Julien 
quite  beside  himself.  "  Think  of  the  infamous  words  that  you 
have  addressed  to  me,  and  before  women  too." 


64  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

M.  de  Renal  understood  only  too  well  what  Julien  was 
asking,  and  a  painful  conflict  tore  his  soul.  It  happened 
that  Julien,  who  was  really  mad  with  rage,  cried  out, 

"  I  know  where  to  go,  Monsieur,  when  I  leave  your  house." 

At  these  words  M.  de  Renal  saw  Julien  installed  with 
M.  Valenod.  "  Well,  sir,"  he  said  at  last  with  a  sigh,  just  as 
though  he  had  called  in  a  surgeon  to  perform  the  most 
painful  operation,  "  I  accede  to  your  request.  I  will  give  you 
fifty  francs  a  month.  Starting  from  the  day  after  to-morrow 
which  is  the  first  of  the  month." 

Julien  wanted  to  laugh,  and  stood  there  dumbfounded.  All 
his  anger  had  vanished. 

"  I  do  not  despise  the  brute  enough,"  he  said  to  himself. 
"  I  have  no  doubt  that  that  is  the  greatest  apology  that  so 
base  a  soul  can  make." 

"  The  children  who  has  listened  to  this  scene  with  gaping 
mouths,  ran  into  the  garden  to  tell  their  mother  that  M. 
Julien  was  very  angry,  but  that  he  was  going  to  have  fifty 
francs  a  month." 

Julien  followed  them  as  a  matter  of  habit  without  even 
looking  at  M.  de  Renal  whom  he  left  in  a  considerable  state 
of  irritation. 

"  That  makes  one  hundred  and  sixty-eight  francs,"  said  the 
mayor  to  himself,  "that  M.  Valenod  has  cost  me.  I  must 
absolutely  speak  a  few  strong  words  to  him  about  his  contract 
to  provide  for  the  foundlings." 

A  minute  afterwards  Julien  found  himself  opposite  M.  de 
Renal. 

"  I  want  to  speak  to  M.  Chelan  on  a  matter  of  conscience. 
I  have  the  honour  to  inform  you  that  I  shall  be  absent  some 
hours." 

"  Why,  my  dear  Julien,"  said  M.  de  Renal  smiling  with  the 
falsest  expression  possible,  "  take  the  whole  day,  and  to-morrow 
too  if  you  like,  my  good  friend.  Take  the  gardener's  horse  to 
go  to  Verrieres." 

"  He  is  on  the  very  point,"  said  M.  de  Renal  to  himself, 
"of  giving  an  answer  to  Valenod.      He  has  promised  me 
tothing,  but  I  must  let  this  hot-headed  young  man  have  time 
ocool  down." 

Julien  quickly  went  away,  and  went  up  into  the  great  forest, 
through  which  one  can  manage  to  get  from  Vergy  to  Verrieres. 


A  GREAT  HEART  AND  A  SMALL  FORTUNE  65 

He  did  not  wish  to  arrive  at  M.  Chelan's  at  once.  Far  from 
wishing  to  cramp  himself  in  a  new  pose  of  hypocrisy  he 
needed  to  see  clear  in  his  own  soul,  and  to  give  audience  to 
the  crowd  of  sentiments  which  were  agitating  him. 

"  I  have  won  a  battle,"  he  said  to  himself,  as  soon  as  he 
saw  that  he  was  well  in  the  forest,  and  far  from  all  human 
gaze.     "  So  I  have  won  a  battle." 

This  expression  shed  a  rosy  light  on  his  situation,  and 
restored  him  to  some  serenity. 

"  Here  I  am  with  a  salary  of  fifty  francs  a  month,  M.  de 
Renal  must  be  precious  afraid,  but  what  of  ?  " 

This  meditation  about  what  could  have  put  fear  into  the 
heart  of  that  happy,  powerful  man  against  whom  he  had  been 
boiling  with  rage  only  an  hour  back,  completed  the  restoration 
to  serenity  of  Julien's  soul.  He  was  almost  able  to  enjoy  for 
a  moment  the  delightful  beauty  of  the  woods  amidst  which  he 
was  walking.  Enormous  blocks  of  bare  rocks  had  fallen 
down  long  ago  in  the  middle  of  the  forest  by  the  mountain 
side.  Great  cedars  towered  almost  as  high  as  these  rocks 
whose  shade  caused  a  delicious  freshness  within  three  yards 
of  places  where  the  heat  of  the  sun's  rays  would  have  made  it 
impossible  to  rest. 

Julien  took  breath  for  a  moment  in  the  shade  of  these 
great  rocks,  and  then  he  began  again  to  climb.  Traversing  a 
narrow  path  that  was  scarcely  marked,  and  was  only  used  by 
the  goat  herds,  he  soon  found  himself  standing  upon  an 
immense  rock  with  the  complete  certainty  of  being  far  away 
from  all  mankind.  This  physical  position  made  him  smile. 
It  symbolised  to  him  the  position  he  was  burning  to  attain  in 
the  moral  sphere.  The  pure  air  of  these  lovely  mountains 
filled  his  soul  with  serenity  and  even  with  joy.  The  mayor  of 
Verrieres  still  continued  to  typify  in  his  eyes  all  the  wealth 
and  all  the  arrogance  of  the  earth;  but  Julien  felt  that  the 
hatred  that  had  just  thrilled  him  had  nothing  personal  about 
it  in  spite  of  all  the  violence  which  he  had  manifested.  If  he 
had  left  off  seeing  M.  de  Renal  he  would  in  eight  days  have 
forgotten  him,  his  castle,  his  dogs,  his  children  and  all  his 
family.  "  I  forced  him,  I  don't  know  how,  to  make  the 
greatest  sacrifice.  What  ?  more  than  fifty  crowns  a  year,  and 
only  a  minute  before  I  managed  to  extricate  myself  from  the 
greatest  danger ;  so  there  are  two  victories  in  one  day.     The 

5 


66  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

second  one  is  devoid  of  merit,  I  must  find  out  the  why  and 
the  wherefore.  But  these  laborious  researches  are  for 
to  morrow." 

Standing  up  on  his  great  rock,  Julien  looked  at  the  sky 
which  was  all  afire  with  an  August  sun.  The  grasshoppers 
sang  in  the  field  about  the  rock ;  when  they  held  their  peace 
there  was  universal  silence  around  him.  He  saw  twenty 
leagues  of  country  at  his  feet.  He  noticed  from  time  to  time 
some  hawk,  which  launching  off  from  the  great  rocks  over  his 
head  was  describing  in  silence  its  immense  circles.  Julien's 
eye  followed  the  bird  of  prey  mechanically.  Its  tranquil 
powerful  movements  struck  him.  He  envied  that  strength, 
that  isolation. 

"  Would  Napoleon's  destiny  be  one  day  his  ?  " 


CHAPTER  XI 

AN    EVENING 

Yet  Julia's  very  coldness  still  was  kind, 
And  tremulously  gently  her  small  hand 
Withdrew  itself  from  his,  but  left  behind 
A  little  pressure,  thrilling,  and  so  bland, 
And  slight,  so  very  slight  that  to  the  mind, 
'Twas  but  a  doubt. 

Don  Juan,  c.  I.  st,  71. 

It  was  necessary,  however,  to  put  in  an  appearance  at 
Verrieres.  As  Juiien  left  the  cure  house  he  was  fortunate 
enough  to  meet  M.  Valenod,  whom  he  hastened  to  tell  of  the 
increase  in  his  salary. 

On  returning  to  Vergy,  Juiien  waited  till  night  had  fallen 
before  going  down  into  the  garden.  His  soul  was  fatigued  by 
the  great  number  of  violent  emotions  which  had  agitated  him 
during  the  day.  "  What  shall  I  say  to  them  ?  "  he  reflected 
anxiously,  as  he  thought  about  the  ladies.  He  was  far  from 
realising  that  his  soul  was  just  in  a  mood  to  discuss  those 
trivial  circumstances  which  usually  monopolise  all  feminine 
interests.  Juiien  was  often  unintelligible  to  Madame  Derville, 
and  even  to  her  friend,  and  he  in  his  turn  only  half  understood 
all  that  they  said  to  him.  Such  was  the  effect  of  the  force 
and,  if  I  may  venture  to  use  such  language,  the  greatness  of 
the  transports  of  passion  which  overwhelmed  the  soul  of  this 
ambitious  youth.  In  this  singular  being  it  was  storm  nearly 
every  day. 

As  he  entered  the  garden  this  evening,  Juiien  was  inclined 
to  take  an  interest  in  what  the  pretty  cousins  were  thinking. 
They  were  waiting  for  him  impatiently.  He  took  his  ac- 
customed seat  next  to  Madame  de  Renal.  The  darkness  soon 
became  profound.      He  attempted  to  take  hold  of  a  white 


68  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

hand  which  he  had  seen  some  time  near  him,  as  it  leant  on 
the  back  of  a  chair.  Some  hesitation  was  shewn,  but 
eventually  the  hand  was  withdrawn  in  a  manner  which 
indicated  displeasure.  Julien  was  inclined  to  give  up  the 
attempt  as  a  bad  job,  and  to  continue  his  conversation  quite 
gaily,  when  he  heard  M.  de  Renal  approaching. 

The  coarse  words  he  had  uttered  in  the  morning  were  still 
ringing  in  Julien's  ears.  "  Would  not  taking  possession  of  his 
wife's  hand  in  his  very  presence,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  be  a 
good  way  of  scoring  off  that  creature  who  has  all  that  life  can 
give  him.  Yes  !  I  will  do  it.  I,  the  very  man  for  whom  he 
has  evidenced  so  great  a  contempt." 

From  that  moment  the  tranquillity  which  was  so  alien  to 
Julien's  real  character  quickly  disappeared.  He  was  obsessed 
by  an  anxious  desire  that  Madame  de  Renal  should  abandon 
her  hand  to  him. 

M.  de  Renal  was  talking  politics  with  vehemence ;  two  or 
three  commercial  men  in  Verrieres  had  been  growing  distinctly 
richer  than  he  was,  and  were  going  to  annoy  him  over  the 
elections.  Madame  Derville  was  listening  to  him.  Irritated 
by  these  tirades,  Julien  brought  his  chair  nearer  Madame  de 
Renal.  All  his  movements  were  concealed  by  the  darkness. 
He  dared  to  put  his  hand  very  near  to  the  pretty  arm  which 
was  left  uncovered  by  the  dress.  He  was  troubled  and  had 
lost  control  of  his  mind.  He  brought  his  face  near  to  that 
pretty  arm  and  dared  to  put  his  lips  on  it. 

Madame  de  Renal  shuddered.  Her  husband  was  four  paces 
away.  She  hastened  to  give  her  hand  to  Julien,  and  at  the 
same  time  to  push  him  back  a  little.  As  M.  de  Renal  was 
continuing  his  insults  against  those  ne'er-do-wells  and 
Jacobins  who  were  growing  so  rich,  Julien  covered  the  hand 
which  had  been  abandoned  to  him  with  kisses,  which  were 
either  really  passionate  or  at  any  rate  seemed  so  to  Madame 
de  Renal.  But  the  poor  woman  had  already  had  the  proofs 
on  that  same  fatal  day  that  the  man  whom  she  adored,  without 
owning  it  to  herself,  loved  another !  During  the  whole  time 
Julien  had  been  absent  she  had  been  the  prey  to  an  extreme 
unhappiness  which  had  made  her  reflect. 

"  What,"  she  said  to  herself,  "  Am  I  going  to  love,  am  I 
going  to  be  in  love  ?  Am  I,  a  married  woman,  going  to  fall 
in  love  ?     But,"  she  said  to  herself,  "  I  have  never  felt  for  my 


AN  EVENING  69 

husband  this  dark  madness,  which  never  permits  of  my 
keeping  Julien  out  of  my  thoughts.  After  all,  he  is  only  a 
child  who  is  full  of  respect  for  me.  This  madness  will  be 
fleeting.  In  what  way  do  the  sentiments  which  I  may  have 
for  this  young  man  concern  my  husband?  M.  de  Renal 
would  be  bored  by  the  conversations  which  I  have  with  Julien 
on  imaginative  subjects.  As  for  him,  he  simply  thinks  of  his 
business.  I  am  not  taking  anything  away  from  him  to  give 
to  Julien." 

No  hypocrisy  had  sullied  the  purity  of  that  naive  soul,  now 
swept  away  by  a  passion  such  as  it  had  never  felt  before.  She 
deceived  herself,  but  without  knowing  it.  But  none  the  less,  a 
certain  instinct  of  virtue  was  alarmed.  Such  were  the  combats 
which  were  agitating  her  when  Julien  appeared  in  the  garden. 
She  heard  him  speak  and  almost  at  the  same  moment  she  saw 
him  sit  down  by  her  side.  Her  soul  was  as  it  were  transported 
by  this  charming  happiness  which  had  for  the  last  fortnight 
surprised  her  even  more  than  it  had  allured.  Everything  was 
novel  for  her.  None  the  less,  she  said  to  herself  after  some 
moments,  "the  mere  presence  of  Julien  is  quite  enough  to 
blot  out  all  his  wrongs."  She  was  frightened;  it  was  then 
that  she  took  away  her  hand. 

His  passionate  kisses,  the  like  of  which  she  had  never 
received  before,  made  her  forget  that  perhaps  he  loved  another 
woman.  Soon  he  was  no  longer  guilty  in  her  eyes.  The 
cessation  of  that  poignant  pain  which  suspicion  had  engendered 
and  the  presence  of  a  happiness  that  she  had  never  even 
dreamt  of,  gave  her  ecstasies  of  love  and  of  mad  gaiety.  The 
evening  was  charming  for  everyone,  except  the  mayor  of 
Verrieres,  who  was  unable  to  forget  his  parvenu  manufacturers. 
Julien  left  off  thinking  about  his  black  ambition,  or  about 
those  plans  of  his  which  were  so  difficult  to  accomplish.  For 
the  first  time  in  his  life  he  was  led  away  by  the  power  of  beauty. 
Lost  in  a  sweetly  vague  reverie,  quite  alien  to  his  character, 
and  softly  pressing  that  hand,  which  he  thought  ideally  pretty, 
he  half  listened  to  the  rustle  of  the  leaves  of  the  pine  trees, 
swept  by  the  light  night  breeze,  and  to  the  dogs  of  the  mill 
on  the  Doubs,  who  barked  in  the  distance. 

But  this  emotion  was  one  of  pleasure  and  not  passion.  As 
he  entered  his  room,  he  only  thought  of  one  happiness,  that 
of  taking  up  again  his  favourite  book.     When  one  is  twenty 


70  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

the  idea  of  the  world  and  the  figure  to  be  cut  in  it  dominate 
everything. 

He  soon,  however,  laid  down  the  book.  As  the  result  of 
thinking  of  the  victories  of  Napoleon,  he  had  seen  a  new 
element  in  his  own  victory.  "  Yes,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  I 
have  won  a  battle.  I  must  exploit  it.  I  must  crush  the  pride 
of  that  proud  gentleman  while  he  is  in  retreat.  That  would 
be  real  Napoleon.  I  must  ask  him  for  three  days'  holiday  to 
go  and  see  my  friend  Fouque  If  he  refuses  me  I  will  threaten 
to  give  him  notice,  but  he  will  yield  the  point. 

Madame  de  Renal  could  not  sleep  a  wink.  It  seemed  as 
though,  until  this  moment,  she  had  never  lived.  She  was 
unable  to  distract  her  thoughts  from  the  happiness  of  feeling 
Julian  cover  her  hand  with  his  burning  kisses. 

Suddenly  the  awful  word  adultery  came  into  her  mind.  All 
the  loathesomeness  with  which  the  vilest  debauchery  can 
invest  sensual  love  presented  itself  to  her  imagination.  These 
ideas  essayed  to  pollute  the  divinely  tender  image  which  she 
was  fashioning  of  Julien,  and  of  the  happiness  of  loving  him. 
The  future  began  to  be  painted  in  terrible  colours.  She  began 
to  regard  herself  as  contemptible. 

That  moment  was  awful.  Her  soul  was  arriving  in  unknown 
countries.  During  the  evening  she  had  tasted  a  novel 
happiness.  Now  she  found  herself  suddenly  plunged  in  an 
atrocious  unhappiness.  She  had  never  had  any  idea  of  such 
sufferings;  they  troubled  her  reason.  She  thought  for  a 
moment  of  confessing  to  her  husband  that  she  was  appre- 
hensive of  loving  Julien.  It  would  be  an  opportunity 
of  speaking  of  him.  Fortunately  her  memory  threw  up 
a  maxim  which  her  aunt  had  once  given  her  on  the 
eve  of  her  marriage.  The  maxim  dealt  with  the  danger  of 
making  confidences  to  a  husband,  for  a  husband  is  after  all 
a  master.  She  wrung  her  hands  in  the  excess  of  her  grief. 
She  was  driven  this  way  and  that  by  clashing  and  painful 
ideas.  At  one  moment  she  feared  that  she  was  not  loved. 
The  next  the  awful  idea  of  crime  tortured  her,  as  much  as  if 
she  had  to  be  exposed  in  the  pillory  on  the  following  day  in 
the  public  square  of  Verrieres,  with  a  placard  to  explain  her 
adultery  to  the  populace. 

Madame  de  Renal  had  no  experience  of  life.  Even  in  the 
full  possession  of  her  faculties,  and  when  fully  exercising  her 


AN  EVENING  71 

reason,  she  would  never  have  appreciated  any  distinction 
between  being  guilty  in  the  eyes  of  God,  and  finding  herself 
publicly  overwhelmed  with  the  crudest  marks  of  universal 
contempt. 

When  the  awful  idea  of  adultery,  and  of  all  the  disgrace 
which  in  her  view  that  crime  brought  in  its  train,  left  her 
some  rest,  she  began  to  dream  of  the  sweetness  of  living 
innocently  with  Julien  as  in  the  days  that  had  gone  by. 

She  found  herself  confronted  with  the  horrible  idea  that 
Julien  loved  another  woman.  She  still  saw  his  pallor  when  he 
had  feared  to  lose  her  portrait,  or  to  compromise  her  by 
exposing  it  to  view.  For  the  first  time  she  had  caught  fear  on 
that  tranquil  and  noble  visage.  He  had  never  shewn  such 
emotion  to  her  or  her  children.  This  additional  anguish 
reached  the  maximum  of  unhappiness  which  the  human  soul 
is  capable  of  enduring.  Unconsciously,  Madame  de  Renal 
uttered  cries  which  woke  up  her  maid.  Suddenly  she  saw  the 
brightness  of  a  light  appear  near  her  bed,  and  recognized 
Elisa.     "  Is  it  you  he  loves  ?  "  she  exclaimed  in  her  delirium. 

Fortunately,  the  maid  was  so  astonished  by  the  terrible 
trouble  in  which  she  found  her  mistress  that  she  paid  no 
attention  to  this  singular  expression.  Madame  de  Renal 
appreciated  her  imprudence.  ' '  I  have  the  fever,"  she  said  to 
her,  "  and  I  think  I  am  a  little  delirious."  Completely 
woken  up  by  the  necessity  of  controlling  herself,  she  be- 
came less  unhappy.  Reason,  regained  that  supreme  control 
which  the  semi-somnolent  state  had  taken  away.  To  free 
herself  from  her  maid's  continual  stare,  she  ordered  her  maid 
to  read  the  paper,  and  it  was  as  she  listened  to  the  monoton- 
ous voice  of  this  girl,  reading  a  long  article  from  the 
Quotidienne  that  Madame  de  Renal  made  the  virtuous 
resolution  to  treat  Tulien  with  absolute  coldness  when  she 
saw  him  again 


CHAPTER  XII 

A  JOURNEY 

Elegant  people  are  to  be  found  in  Paris.     People  of  character 
may  exist  in  the  provinces. — SiZyes 

At  five  o'clock  the  following  day,  before  Madame  de  Renal 
was  visible,  Julien  obtained  a  three  days'  holiday  from  her 
husband.  Contrary  to  his  expectation  Julien  found  himself 
desirous  of  seeing  her  again.  He  kept  thinking  of  that  pretty 
hand  of  hers.  He  went  down  into  the  garden,  but  Madame 
de  Renal  kept  him  waiting  for  a  long  time.  But  if  Julien 
had  loved  her,  he  would  have  seen  her  forehead  glued  to  the 
pane  behind  the  half-closed  blinds  on  the  first  floor.  She  was 
looking  at  him.  Finally,  in  spite  of  her  resolutions,  she 
decided  to  go  into  the  garden.  Her  habitual  pallor  had 
been  succeeded  by  more  lively  hues.  This  woman,  simple  as 
she  was,  was  manifestly  agitated ;  a  sentiment  of  constraint, 
and  even  of  anger,  altered  that  expression  of  profound 
serenity  which  seemed,  as  it  were,  to  be  above  all  the  vulgar 
interests  of  life  and  gave  so  much  charm  to  that  divine 
face. 

Julien  approached  her  with  eagerness,  admiring  those 
beautiful  arms  which  were  just  visible  through  a  hastily 
donned  shawl.  The  freshness  of  the  morning  air  seemed  to 
accentuate  still  more  the  brilliance  of  her  complexion  which 
the  agitation  of  the  past  night  rendered  all  the  more  sus- 
ceptible to  all  impressions.  This  demure  and  pathetic  beauty, 
which  was,  at  the  same  time,  full  of  thoughts  which  are  never 
found  in  the  inferior  classes,  seemed  to  reveal  to  Julien  a 
faculty  in  his  own  soul  which  he  had  never  before  realised. 
Engrossed  in  his  admiration  of  the  charms  on  which  his 
his  greedy  gaze  was  riveted,  Julien  took  for  granted  the  friendly 


A  JOURNEY  73 

welcome  which  he  was  expecting  to  receive.  He  was  all  the 
more  astonished  at  the  icy  coldness  which  she  endeavoured  to 
manifest  to  him,  and  through  which  he  thought  he  could  even 
distinguish  the  intention  of  putting  him  in  his  place. 

The  smile  of  pleasure  died  away  from  his  lips  as  he 
remembered  his  rank  in  society,  especially  from  the  point  of 
view  of  a  rich  and  noble  heiress.  In  a  single  moment  his 
face  exhibited  nothing  but  haughtiness  and  anger  against 
himself.  He  felt  violently  disgusted  that  he  could  have  put 
off  his  departure  for  more  than  an  hour,  simply  to  receive  so 
hum  ilia  tig  a  welcome. 

"  It  is  only  a  fool,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  who  is  angry  with 
others  ;  a  stone  falls  because  it  is  heavy.  Am  I  going  to  be 
a  child  all  my  life  ?  How  on  earth  is  it  that  I  manage  to  con- 
tract the  charming  habit  of  showing  my  real  self  to  those  people 
simply  in  return  for  their  money  ?  If  I  want  to  win  their 
respect  and  that  of  my  own  self,  I  must  shew  them  that  it  is 
simply  a  business  transaction  between  my  poverty  and  their 
wealth,  but  that  my  heart  is  a  thousand  leagues  away  from 
their  insolence,  and  is  situated  in  too  high  a  sphere  to  be 
affected  by  their  petty  marks  of  favour  or  disdain." 

While  these  feelings  were  crowding  the  soul  of  the  young 
tutor,  his  mobile  features  assumed  an  expression  of  ferocity 
and  injured  pride.  Madame  de  Renal  was  extremely 
troubled.  The  virtuous  coldness  that  she  had  meant  to  put 
into  her  welcome  was  succeeded  by  an  expression  of  interest 
— an  interest  animated  by  all  the  surprise  brought  about  by 
the  sudden  change  which  she  had  just  seen.  The  empty 
morning  platitudes  about  their  health  and  the  fineness  of  the 
day  suddenly  dried  up.  Julien's  judgment  was  disturbed  by 
no  passion,  and  he  soon  found  a  means  of  manifesting  to 
Madame  de  Renal  how  light  was  the  friendly  relationship  that 
he  considered  existed  between  them.  He  said  nothing  to  her 
about  the  little  journey  that  he  was  going  to  make  ;  saluted 
her,  and  went  away. 

As  she  watched  him  go,  she  was  overwhelmed  by  the 
sombre  haughtiness  which  she  read  in  that  look  which  had 
been  so  gracious  the  previous  evening.  Her  eldest  son  ran 
up  from  the  bottom  of  the  garden,  and  said  as  he  kissed  her, 

"  We  have  a  holiday,  M.  Julien  is  going  on  a  journey." 

At  these  words,  Madame  de  Renal  felt  seized  by  a  deadly 


74  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

coldness.     She  was  unhappy  by  reason  of  her  virtue,  and  even 
more  unhappy  by  reason  of  her  weakness. 

This  new  event  engrossed  her  imagination,  and  she  was 
transported  far  beyond  the  good  resolutions  which  she  owed 
to  the  awful  night  she  had  just  passed.  It  was  not  now  a 
question  of  resisting  that  charming  lover,  but  of  losing  him 
for  ever. 

It  was  necessary  to  appear  at  breakfast.  To  complete  her 
anguish,  M.  de  Renal  and  Madame  Derville  talked  of  nothing 
but  Julien's  departure.  The  mayor  of  Verrieres  had  noticed 
something  unusual  in  the  firm  tone  in  which  he  had  asked  for 
a  holiday. 

"  That  little  peasant  has  no  doubt  got  somebody  else's  offer 
up  his  sleeve,  but  that  somebody  else,  even  though  it's  M. 
Valenod,  is  bound  to  be  a  little  discouraged  by  the  sum  of 
six  hundred  francs,  which  the  annual  salary  now  tots  up 
to.  He  must  have  asked  yesterday  at  Verrieres  for  a 
period  of  three  days  to  think  it  over,  and  our  little  gentleman 
runs  off  to  the  mountains  this  morning  so  as  not  to  be 
obliged  to  give  me  an  answer.  Think  of  having  to  reckon 
with  a  wretched  workman  who  puts  on  airs,  but  that's  what 
we've  come  to." 

"  If  my  husband,  who  does  not  know  how  deeply  he  has 
wounded  Julien,  thinks  that  he  will  leave  us,  what  can  I  think 
myself?"  said  Madame  de  Renal  to  herself.  "  Yes,  that  is  all 
decided."  In  order  to  be  able  at  any  rate  to  be  free  to  cry, 
and  to  avoid  answering  madame  Derville's  questions,  she 
pleaded  an  awful  headache,  and  went  to  bed. 

"  That's  what  women  are,"  repeated  M.  de  Renal,  "  there 
is  always  something  out  of  order  in  those  complicated 
machines,"  and  he  went  off  jeering. 

While  Madame  de  Renal  was  a  prey  to  all  the  poignancy  of 
the  terrible  passion  in  which  chance  had  involved  her,  Julien 
went  merrily  on  his  way,  surrounded  by  the  most  beautiful 
views  that  mountain  scenery  can  offer.  He  had  to  cross  the 
great  chain  north  of  Vergy.  The  path  which  he  followed 
rose  gradually  among  the  big  beech  woods,  and  ran  into 
infinite  spirals  on  the  slope  of  the  high  mountain  which  forms 
the  northern  boundary  of  the  Doubs  valley.  Soon  the 
traveller's  view,  as  he  passed  over  the  lower  slopes  bounding 
the  course  of  the  Doubs  towards  the  south,  extends  as  far  as 


A  JOURNEY  75 

the  fertile  plains  of  Burgundy  and  Beaujolais.  However 
insensible  was  the  soul  of  this  ambitious  youth  to  this  kind  of 
beauty,  he  could  not  help  stopping  from  time  to  time  to  look 
at  a  spectacle  at  once  so  vast  and  so  impressive. 

Finally,  he  reached  the  summit  of  the  great  mountain,  near 
which  he  had  to  pass  in  order  to  arrive  by  this  cross-country 
route  at  the  solitary  valley  where  lived  his  friend  Fouque,  the 
young  wood  merchant.  Julien  was  in  no  hurry  to  see  him  ; 
either  him,  or  any  other  human  being.  Hidden  like  a  bird  of 
prey  amid  the  bare  rocks  which  crowned  the  great  mountain, 
he  could  see  a  long  way  off  anyone  coming  near  him.  He 
discovered  a  little  grotto  in  the  middle  of  the  almost  vertical 
slope  of  one  of  the  rocks.  He  found  a  way  to  it,  and  was 
soon  ensconced  in  this  retreat.  "  Here,"  he  said,  "  with 
eyes  brilliant  with  joy,  men  cannot  hurt  me."  It  occurred  to 
him  to  indulge  in  the  pleasure  of  writing  down  those  thoughts 
of  his  which  were  so  dangerous  to  him  everywhere  else.  A 
square  stone  served  him  for  a  desk ;  his  pen  flew.  He  saw 
nothing  of  what  was  around  him.  He  noticed  at  last  that  the 
sun  was  setting  behind  the  distant  mountains  of  Beaujolais. 

"  Why  shouldn't  I  pass  the  night  here  ?  "  he  said  to  himself. 
"  I  have  bread,  and  I  am  free."  He  felt  a  spiritual  exultation 
at  the  sound  of  that  great  word.  The  necessity  of  playing  the 
hypocrite  resulted  in  his  not  being  free,  even  at  Fouque's. 
Leaning  his  head  on  his  two  hands,  Julien  stayed  in  the  grotto, 
more  happy  than  he  had  ever  been  in  his  life,  thrilled  by  his 
dreams,  and  by  the  bliss  of  his  freedom.  Without  realising  it, 
he  saw  all  the  rays  of  the  twilight  become  successively  ex- 
tinguished. Surrounded  by  this  immense  obscurity,  his  soul 
wandered  into  the  contemplation  of  what  he  imagined  that  he 
would  one  day  meet  in  Paris.  First  it  was  a  woman,  much  more 
beautiful  and  possessed  of  a  much  more  refined  temperament 
than  anything  he  could  have  found  in  the  provinces.  He 
loved  with  passion,  and  was  loved.  If  he  separated  from  her 
for  some  instants,  it  was  only  to  cover  himself  with  glory,  and 
to  deserve  to  be  loved  still  more. 

A  young  man  brought  up  in  the  environment  of  the  sad 
truths  of  Paris  society,  would,  on  reaching  this  point  in  his 
romance,  even  if  we  assume  him  possessed  of  Julien's  imagina- 
tion, have  been  brought  back  to  himself  by  the  cold  irony  of 
the  situation.     Great  deeds  would  have  disappeared  from  ou 


76  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

his  ken  together  with  hope  of  achieving  them  and  have  been 
succeeded  by  the  platitude.  "  If  one  leave  one's  mistress  one 
runs  alas !  the  risk  of  being  deceived  two  or  three  times  a  day." 
But  the  young  peasant  saw  nothing  but  the  lack  of  opportunity 
between  himself  and  the  most  heroic  feats. 

But  a  deep  night  had  succeeded  the  day,  and  there  were 
still  two  leagues  to  walk  before  he  could  descend  to  the  cabin 
in  which  Fouque  lived.  Before  leaving  the  little  cave,  Julien 
made  a  light  and  carefully  burnt  all  that  he  had  written.  He 
quite  astonished  his  friend  when  he  knocked  at  his  door  at 
one  o'clock  in  the  morning.  He  found  Fouque  engaged  in 
making  up  his  accounts.  He  was  a  young  man  of  high 
stature,  rather  badly  made,  with  big,  hard  features,  a  never- 
ending  nose,  and  a  large  fund  of  good  nature  concealed 
beneath  this  repulsive  appearance. 

"  Have  you  quarelled  with  M.  de  Renal  then  that  you  turn 
up  unexpectedly  like  this  ?  "  Julien  told  him,  but  in  a  suitable 
way,  the  events  of  the  previous  day. 

"  Stay  with  me,"  said  Fouque  to  him.  "  I  see  that  you  know 
M.  de  Renal,  M.  Valenod,  the  sub-prefect  Maugron,  the  cure 
Chelan.  You  have  understood  the  subtleties  of  the  character 
of  those  people.  So  there  you  are  then,  quite  qualified  to 
attend  auctions.  You  know  arithmetic  better  than  I  do  ;  you 
will  keep  my  accounts ;  I  make  a  lot  in  my  business.  The 
impossibility  of  doing  everything  myself,  and  the  fear  of  taking 
a  rascal  for  my  partner  prevents  me  daily  from  undertaking 
excellent  business.  It's  scarcely  a  month  since  I  put  Michaud 
de  Saint-Amand,  whom  I  haven't  seen  for  six  years,  and  whom 
I  ran  across  at  the  sale  at  Pontarlier  in  the  way  of  making  six 
thousand  francs.  Why  shouldn't  it  have  been  you  who  made 
those  six  thousand  francs,  or  at  any  rate  three  thousand. 
For  if  I  had  had  you  with  me  that  day,  I  would  have  raised 
the  bidding  for  that  lot  of  timber  and  everybody  else  would 
soon  have  run  away.     Be  my  partner. 

This  offer  upset  Julien.  It  spoilt  the  train  of  his  mad 
dreams.  Fouque  showed  his  accounts  to  Julien  during  the 
whole  of  the  supper — which  the  two  friends  prepared  themselves 
like  the  Homeric  heroes  (for  Fouque  lived  alone)  and  proved 
to  him  all  the  advantages  offered  by  his  timber  business. 
Fouque  had  the  highest  opinion  of  the  gifts  and  character  of 
Julien. 


A  JOURNEY  77 

When,  finally,  the  latter  was  alone  in  his  little  room  of 
pinewood,  he  said  to  himself :  "  It  is  true  I  can  make  some 
thousands  of  francs  here  and  then  take  up  with  advantage  the 
profession  of  a  soldier,  or  of  a  priest,  according  to  the  fashion 
then  prevalent  in  France.  The  little  hoard  that  I  shall 
have  amassed  will  remove  all  petty  difficulties.  In  the  solitude 
of  this  mountain  I  shall  have  dissipated  to  some  extent  my 
awful  ignorance  of  so  many  of  the  things  which  make  up  the 
life  of  all  those  men  of  fashion.  But  Fouque  has  given  up  all 
thoughts  of  marriage,  a<nd  at  the  same  time  keeps  telling  me 
that  solitude  makes  him  unhappy.  It  is  clear  that  if  he  takes 
a  partner  who  has  no  capital  to  put  into  his  business,  he  does 
so  in  the  hopes  of  getting  a  companion  who  will  never  leave 
him." 

"Shall  I  deceive  my  friend,"  exclaimed  Julien  petulantly. 
This  being  who  found  hypocrisy  and  complete  callousness 
his  ordinary  means  of  self-preservation  could  not,  on  this 
occasion,  endure  the  idea  of  the  slightest  lack  of  delicate 
feeling  towards  a  man  whom  he  loved. 

But  suddenly  Julien  was  happy.  He  had  a  reason  for  a 
refusal.  What !  Shall  I  be  coward  enough  to  waste  seven  or 
eight  years.  I  shall  get  to  twenty-eight  in  that  way  !  But  at 
that  age  Bonaparte  had  achieved  his  greatest  feats.  When 
I  shall  have  made  in  obscurity  a  little  money  by  frequenting 
timber  sales,  and  earning  the  good  graces  of  some  rascally 
under-strappers  who  will  guarantee  that  I  shall  still  have  the 
sacred  fire  with  which  one  makes  a  name  for  oneself? 

The  following  morning,  Julien  with  considerable  sangfroid, 
said  in  answer  to  the  good  Fouque,  who  regarded  the  matter 
of  the  partnership  as  settled,  that  his  vocation  for  the  holy 
ministry  of  the  altars  would  not  permit  him  to  accept  it. 
Fouque  did  not  return  to  the  subject. 

"  But  just  think,"  he  repeated  to  him,  "  I'll  make  you  my 
partner,  or  if  you  prefer  it,  I'll  give  you  four  thousand  francs 
a  year,  and  you  want  to  return  to  that  M.  de  Renal  of  yours, 
who  despises  you  like  the  mud  on  his  shoes.  When  you  have 
got  two  hundred  louis  in  front  of  you,  what  is  to  prevent  you 
from  entering  the  seminary  ?  I'll  go  further  :  I  will  undertake 
to  procure  for  you  the  best  living  in  the  district,  for,"  added 

Fouque,  lowering  his  voice,  I  supply  firewood  to  M.  le 

M.    le M .     I  provide  them  with  first  quality  oak, 


78  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

but  they  only  pay  me  for  plain  wood,  but  never  was  money 
better  invested. 

Nothing  could  conquer  Julien's  vocation.  Fouque  finished 
by  thinking  him  a  little  mad.  The  third  day,  in  the  early 
morning,  Julien  left  his  friend,  and  passed  the  day  amongst 
the  rocks  of  the  great  mountain.  He  found  his  little  cave 
again,  but  he  had  no  longer  peace  of  mind.  His  friend's 
offers  had  robbed  him  of  it.  He  found  himself,  not  between 
^ice  and  virtue,  like  Hercules,  but  between  mediocrity  coupled 
with  an  assured  prosperity,  and  all  the  heroic  dreams  of  his 
youth.  "  So  I  have  not  got  real  determination  after  all,"  he 
said  to  himself,  and  it  was  his  doubt  on  this  score  which 
pained  him  the  most.  "  I  am  not  of  the  stuff  of  which  great 
men  are  made,  because  I  fear  that  eight  years  spent  in  earning 
a  livelihood  will  deprive  me  of  that  sublime  energy  which 
inspires  the  accomplishment  of  extraordinary  feats." 


CHAPTER  XIII 

THE   OPEN    WORK    STOCKINGS 

A  novel :  a  mirror  which  one  takes  out  on  one's  walk 
along  the  high  road. — Saint-Real. 

When  Julien  perceived  the  picturesque  ruins  of  the  old  church 
at  Vergy,  he  noticed  that  he  had  not  given  a  single  thought  to 
Madame  de  Renal  since  the  day  before  yesterday.  "The 
other  day,  when  I  took  my  leave,  that  woman  made  me  realise 
the  infinite  distance  which  separated  us ;  she  treated  me  like 
a  labourer's  son.  No  doubt  she  wished  to  signify  her  repentance 
for  having  allowed  me  to  hold  her  hand  the  evening  before. 
.  .  It  is,  however  very  pretty,  is  that  hand.  What  a 
charm,  what  a  nobility  is  there  in  that  woman's  expression ! 

The  possibility  of  making  a  fortune  with  Fouque  gave  a 
certain  facility  to  Julien's  logic.  It  was  not  spoilt  quite  so 
frequently  by  the  irritation  and  the  keen  consciousness  of  his 
poverty  and  low  estate  in  the  eyes  of  the  world.  Placed  as  it 
were  on  a  high  promontory,  he  was  able  to  exercise  his 
judgment,  and  had  a  commanding  view,  so  to  speak,  of  both 
extreme  poverty  and  that  competence  which  he  still  called 
wealth.  He  was  far  from  judging  his  position  really  philo- 
sophically, but  he  had  enough  penetration  to  feel  different 
after  this  little  journey  into  the  mountain. 

He  was  struck  with  the  extreme  uneasiness  with  which 
Madame  de  Renal  listened  to  the  brief  account  which  she  had 
asked  for  of  his  journey.  Fouque  had  had  plans  of  marriage, 
and  unhappy  love  affairs,  and  long  confidences  on  this  subject 
had  formed  the  staple  of  the  two  friends'  conversation.  Having 
found  happiness  too  soon,  Fouque  had  realised  that  he  was 
not  the  only  one  who  was  loved.  All  these  accounts  had 
astonished   Julien.     He  had   learnt   many  new  things.     His 


8o  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

solitary  life  of  imagination  and  suspicion  had  kept  him  remote 
from  anything  which  could  enlighten  him. 

During  his  absence,  life  had  been  nothing  for  Madame  de 
R£nal  but  a  series  of  tortures,  which,  though  different,  were  all 
unbearable.     She  was  really  ill. 

"  Now  mind,"  said  Madame  Derville  to  her  when  she  saw 
Julien  arrive,  "  you  don't  go  into  the  garden  this  evening  in 
your  weak  state  ;  the  damp  air  will  make  your  complaint  twice 
as  bad." 

Madame  Derville  was  surprised  to  see  that  her  friend,  who 
was  always  scolded  by  M.  de  Renal  by  reason  of  the  excessive 
simplicity  of  her  dress,  had  just  got  some  openwork  stockings 
and  some  charming  little  shoes  which  had  come  from  Paris. 
For  three  days  Madame  de  Renal's  only  distraction  had  been 
to  cut  out  a  summer  dress  of  a  pretty  little  material  which 
was  very  fashionable,  and  get  it  made  with  express  speed  by 
Elisa.  This  dress  could  scarcely  have  been  finished  a  few 
moments  before  Julien's  arrival,  but  Madame  de  Renal  put 
it  on  immediately.  Her  friend  had  no  longer  any  doubt. 
"  She  loves,"  unhappy  woman,  said  Madame  Derville  to  her- 
self. She  understood  all  the  strange  symptoms  of  the 
malady. 

She  saw  her  speak  to  Julien.  The  most  violent  blush  was 
succeeded  by  pallor.  Anxiety  was  depicted  in  her  eyes, 
which  were  riveted  on  those  of  the  young  tutor.  Madame  de 
Renal  expected  every  minute  that  he  would  give  an  explana- 
tion of  his  conduct,  and  announce  that  he  was  either  going 
to  leave  the  house  or  stay  there.  Julien  carefully  avoided 
that  subject,  and  did  not  even  think  of  it.  After  terrible 
struggles,  Madame  de  Renal  eventually  dared  to  say  to  him 
in  a  trembling  voice  that  mirrored  all  her  passion  : 

"  Are  you  going  to  leave  your  pupils  to  take  another 
place?" 

Julien  was  struck  by  Madame  de  Renal's  hesitating  voice 
and  look.  "That  woman  loves  me,"  he  said  to  himself! 
"  But  after  this  temporary  moment  of  weakness,  for  which 
her  pride  is  no  doubt  reproaching  her,  and  as  soon  as  she 
has  ceased  fearing  that  I  shall  leave,  she  will  be  as  haughty 
as  ever."  This  view  of  their  mutual  position  passed  through 
Julien's  mind  as  rapidly  as  a  flash  of  lightning.  He  answered 
with  some  hesitation, 


THE  OPEN  WORK  STOCKINGS  81 

"  I  shall  be  extremely  distressed  to  leave  children  who  are 
so  nice  and  so  well-born,  but  perhaps  it  will  be  necessary. 
One  has  duties  to  oneself  as  well." 

As  he  pronounced  the  expression,  "  well-born  "  (it  was  one 
of  those  aristocratic  phrases  which  Julien  had  recently  learnt), 
he  became  animated  by  a  profound  feeling  of  antipathy. 

"  I  am  not  well-born,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  in  that  woman's 
eyes." 

As  Madame  de  Renal  listened  to  him,  she  admired  his 
genius  and  his  beauty,  and  the  hinted  possibility  of  his 
departure  pierced  her  heart.  All  her  friends  at  Verrieres 
who  had  come  to  dine  at  Vergy  during  Julien's  absence  had 
complimented  her  almost  jealously  on  the  astonishing  man 
whom  her  husband  had  had  the  good  fortune  to  unearth.  It 
was  not  that  they  understood  anything  about  the  progress  of 
children.  The  feat  of  knowing  his  Bible  by  heart,  and  what 
is  more,  of  knowing  it  in  Latin,  had  struck  the  inhabitants  of 
Verrieres  with  an  admiration  which  will  last  perhaps  a 
century. 

Julien,  who  never  spoke  to  anyone,  was  ignorant  of  all  this. 
If  Madame  de  Renal  had  possessed  the  slightest  presence 
of  mind,  she  would  have  complimented  him  on  the  reputation 
which  he  had  won,  and  Julien's  pride,  once  satisfied,  he 
would  have  been  sweet  and  amiable  towards  her,  especially  as 
he  thought  her  new  dress  charming.  Madame  de  Renal 
was  also  pleased  with  her  pretty  dress,  and  with  what  Julien 
had  said  to  her  about  it,  and  wanted  to  walk  round  the  garden. 
But  she  soon  confessed  that  she  was  incapable  of  walking. 
She  had  taken  the  traveller's  arm,  and  the  contact  of  that 
arm,  far  from  increasing  her  strength,  deprived  her  of  it 
completely. 

It  was  night,  They  had  scarcely  sat  down  before  Julien, 
availing  himself  of  his  old  privilege,  dared  to  bring  his  lips 
near  his  pretty  neighbour's  arm,  and  to  take  her  hand.  He 
kept  thinking  of  the  boldness  which  Fouque  had  exhibited 
with  his  mistresses  and  not  of  Madame  de  Renal ;  the  word 
"  well-born "  was  still  heavy  on  his  heart.  He  felt  his 
hand  pressed,  but  experienced  no  pleasure.  So  far  from  his 
being  proud,  or  even  grateful  for  the  sentiment  that  Madame 
de  Renal  was  betraying  that  evening  by  only  too  evident  signs, 
he  was  almost  insensible  to  her  beauty,  her  elegance,  and  her 

6 


82  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

freshness.  Purity  of  soul,  and  the  abseuce  of  all  hateful 
emotion,  doubtless  prolong  the  duration  of  youth.  It  is 
the  face  which  ages  first  with  the  majority  of  women. 

Julien  sulked  all  the  evening.  Up  to  the  present  he  had 
only  been  angry  with  the  social  order,  but  from  that  time 
that  Fouque  had  offered  him  an  ignoble  means  of  obtaining 
a  competency,  he  was  irritated  with  himself.  Julien  was  so 
engrossed  in  his  thoughts,  that,  although  from  time  to  time 
he  said  a  few  words  to  the  ladies,  he  eventually  let  go  Madame 
de  RenaPs  hand  without  noticing  it.  This  action  over- 
whelmed the  soul  of  the  poor  woman.  She  saw  in  it  her 
whole  fate. 

If  she  had  been  certain  of  Julien's  affection,  her  virtue 
would  possibly  have  found  strength  to  resist  him.  But 
trembling  lest  she  should  lose  him  for  ever,  she  was  distracted 
by  her  passion  to  the  point  of  taking  again  Julien's  hand, 
which  he  had  left  in  his  absent-mindedness  leaning  on  the 
back  of  the  chair.  This  action  woke  up  this  ambitious  youth ; 
he  would  have  liked  to  have  had  for  witnesses  all  those  proud 
nobles  who  had  regarded  him  at  meals,  when  he  was  at  the 
bottom  of  the  table  with  the  children,  with  so  condescending 
a  smile.  "That  woman  cannot  despise  me;  in  that  case," 
he  said  to  himself.  "  I  ought  to  shew  my  appreciation  of 
her  beauty.  I  owe  it  to  myself  to  be  her  lover."  That  idea 
would  not  have  occurred  to  him  before  the  naive  confidences 
which  his  friend  had  made. 

The  sudden  resolution  which  he  had  just  made  formed  an 
agreeable  distraction.  He  kept  saying  to  himself,  "  I  must 
have  one  of  those  two  women  ;  he  realised  that  he  would  have 
very  much  preferred  to  have  paid  court  to  Madame  Derville. 
It  was  not  that  she  was  more  agreeable,  but  that  she  had 
always  seen  him  as  the  tutor  distinguished  by  his  knowledge, 
and  not  as  the  journeyman  carpenter  with  his  cloth  jacket 
folded  under  his  arm  as  he  had  first  appeared  to  Madame  de 
Renal. 

It  was  precisely  as  a  young  workman,  blushing  up  to  the 
whites  of  his  eyes,  standing  by  the  door  of  the  house  and 
not  daring  to  ring,  that  he  made  the  most  alluring  appeal  to 
Madame  de  Renal's  imagination. 

As  he  went  on  reviewing  his  position,  Julien  saw  that  the 
conquest  of  Madame  Derville,  who  had  probably  noticed  the 


THE  OPEN  WORK  STOCKINGS  83 

taste  which  Madame  de  Renal  was  manifesting  for  him,  was 
out  of  the  question.  He  was  thus  brought  back  to  the  latter 
lady.  "  What  do  I  know  of  the  character  of  that  woman  ?  " 
said  Julien  to  himself.  "  Only  this  :  before  my  journey,  I  used 
to  take  her  hand,  and  she  used  to  take  it  away.  To-day,  I 
take  my  hand  away,  and  she  seizes  and  presses  it.  A  fine 
opportunity  to  pay  her  back  all  the  contempt  she  had  had  for 
me.  God  knows  how  many  lovers  she  has  had,  probably  she 
is  only  deciding  in  my  favour  by  reason  of  the  easiness  of 
assignations." 

Such,  alas,  is  the  misfortune  of  an  excessive  civilisation. 
The  soul  of  a  young  man  of  twenty,  possessed  of  any 
education,  is  a  thousand  leagues  away  from  that  abandon 
without  which  love  is  frequently  but  the  most  tedious  of 
duties. 

"  I  owe  it  all  the  more  to  myself,"  went  on  the  petty  vanity 
of  Julien,  "  to  succeed  with  that  woman,  by  reason  of  the 
fact  that  if  I  ever  make  a  fortune,  and  I  am  reproached  by 
anyone  with  my  menial  position  as  a  tutor,  I  shall  then  be 
able  to  give  out  that  it  was  love  which  got  me  the  post." 

Julien  again  took  his  hand  away  from  Madame  de  Renal, 
and  then  took  her  hand  again  and  pressed  it.  As  they  went 
back  to  the  drawing-room  about  midnight,  Madame  de  Renal 
said  to  him  in  a  whisper. 

"You  are  leaving  us,  you  are  going?" 

Julien  answered  with  a  sigh. 

"  I  absolutely  must  leave,  for  I  love  you  passionately. 
It  is  wrong  .  .  .  how  wrong  indeed  for  a  young  priest  ?  " 
Madame  de  Renal  leant  upon  his  arm,  and  with  so  much 
abandon  that  her  cheek  felt  the  warmth  of  Julien's. 

The  nights  of  these  two  persons  were  quite  different. 
Madame  de  Renal  was  exalted  by  the  ecstacies  of  the  highest 
moral  pleasure.  A  coquettish  young  girl,  who  loves  early  in 
life,  gets  habituated  to  the  trouble  of  love,  and  when  she 
reaches  the  age  of  real  passion,  finds  the  charm  of  novelty 
lacking.  As  Madame  de  Renal  had  never  read  any  novels, 
all  the  refinements  of  her  happiness  were  new  to  her.  No 
mournful  truth  came  to  chill  her,  not  even  the  spectre  of  the 
future.  She  imagined  herself  as  happy  in  ten  years'  time  as 
she  was  at  the  present  moment.  Even  the  idea  of  virtue  and 
of  her  sworn   fidelity  to   M.   de   Renal,   which   had  agitated 


84  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

her  some  days  past,  now  presented  itself  in  vain,  and  was 
sent  about  its  business  like  an  importunate  visitor.  "  I  will 
never  grant  anything  to  Julien,"  said  Madame  de  Renal; 
"  we  will  live  in  the  future  like  we  have  been  living  for  the 
last  month.     He  shall  be  a  friend." 


CHAPTER   XIV 

THE    ENGLISH    SCISSORS 

A  young  girl  of  sixteen  had  a  pink  complexion,  and 
yet  used  red  rouge.  — Polidori. 

Fouque's  offer  had,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  taken  away  all  Julien's 
happiness ;  he  could  not  make  up  his  mind  to  any  definite 
course.  "  Alas  !  perhaps  I  am  lacking  in  character.  I  should 
have  been  a  bad  soldier  of  Napoleon.  At  least,"  he  added, 
"  my  little  intrigue  with  the  mistress  of  the  house  will  distract 
me  a  little." 

Happily  for  him,  even  in  this  little  subordinate  incident, 
his  inner  emotions  quite  failed  to  correspond  with  his  flippant 
words.  He  was  frightened  of  Madame  de  Renal  because  of 
her  pretty  dress.  In  his  eyes,  that  dress  was  a  vanguard  of 
Paris.  His  pride  refused  to  leave  anything  to  chance  and 
the  inspiration  of  the  moment.  He  made  himself  a  very 
minute  plan  of  campaign,  moulded  on  the  confidences  of 
Fouque,  and  a  little  that  he  had  read  about  love  in  the  Bible. 
As  he  was  very  nervous,  though  he  did  not  admit  it  to  him- 
self, he  wrote  down  this  plan. 

Madame  de  Renal  was  alone  with  him  for  a  moment  in 
the  drawing-room  on  the  following  morning. 

"  Have  you  no  other  name  except  Julien,"  she  said. 

Our  hero  was  at  a  loss  to  answer  so  flattering  a  question. 
This  circumstance  had  not  been  anticipated  in  his  plan.  If 
he  had  not  been  stupid  enough  to  have  made  a  plan,  Julien's 
quick  wit  would  have  served  him  well,  and  the  surprise  would 
only  have  intensified  the  quickness  of  his  perception. 

He  was  clumsy,  and  exaggerated  his  clumsiness,  Madame 
de  Renal  quickly  forgave  him.  She  attributed  it  to  a  charm- 
ing frankness.      And  an  air  of  frankness  was  the  very  thing 


86  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

which    in   her  view  was   just   lacking   in   this  man  who  was 
acknowledged  to  have  so  much  genius. 

"  That  little  tutor  of  yours  inspires  me  with  a  great  deal  of 
suspicion,"  said  Madame  Derville  to  her  sometimes.  "  I 
think  he  looks  as  if  he  were  always  thinking,  and  he  never 
acts  without  calculation.     He  is  a  sly  fox." 

Julien  remained  profoundly  humiliated  by  the  misfortune  of 
not  having  known  what  answer  to  make  to  Madame  de 
Renal. 

"  A  man  like  I  am  ought  to  make  up  for  this  check  !  "  and 
seizing  the  moment  when  they  were  passing  from  one  room  to 
another,  he  thought  it  was  his  duty  to  give  Madame  de  Renal 
a  kiss. 

Nothing  could  have  been  less  tactful,  nothing  less  agreeable, 
and  nothing  more  imprudent  both  for  him  and  for  her.  They 
were  within  an  inch  of  being  noticed.  Madame  de  Renal 
thought  him  mad.  She  was  frightened,  and  above  all,  shocked. 
This  stupidity  reminded  her  of  M.  Valenod. 

"  What  would  happen  to  me,"  she  said  to  herself,  "  if  I  were 
alone  with  him  ?  "  All  her  virtue  returned,  because  her  love 
was  waning. 

She  so  arranged  it  that  one  of  her  children  always  remained 
with  her.  Julien  found  the  day  very  tedious,  and  passed  it 
entirely  in  clumsily  putting  into  operation  his  plan  of  seduction. 
He  did  not  look  at  Madame  de  Renal  on  a  single  occasion 
without  that  look  having  a  reason,  but  nevertheless  he  was  not 
sufficiently  stupid  to  fail  to  see  that  he  was  not  succeeding  at 
all  in  being  amiable,  and  was  succeeding  even  less  in  being 
fascinating. 

Madame  de  Renal  did  not  recover  from  her  astonishment 
at  finding  him  so  awkward  and  at  the  same  time  so  bold. 
"  It  is  the  timidity  of  love  in  men  of  intellect,"  she  said  to 
herself  with  an  inexpressible  joy.  "  Could  it  be  possible  that 
he  had  never  been  loved  by  my  rival  ?  " 

After  breakfast  Madame  de  Renal  went  back  to  the  drawing- 
room  to  receive  the  visit  of  M.  Charcot  de  Maugiron,  the  sub- 
prefect  of  Bray.  She  was  working  at  a  little  frame  of  fancy-work 
some  distance  from  the  ground.  Madame  Derville  was  at  her 
side;  that  was  how  she  was  placed  when  our  hero  thought  it 
suitable  to  advance  his  boot  in  the  full  light  and  press  the 
pretty  foot  of  Madame  de  Renal,  whose  open-work  stockings, 


THE  ENGLISH  SCISSORS  87 

and  pretty  Paris  shoe  were  evidently  attracting  the  looks  of 
the  gallant  sub-prefect. 

Madame  de  Renal  was  very  much  afraid,  and  let  fall  her 
scissors,  her  ball  of  wool  and  her  needles,  so  that  Julien's 
movement  could  be  passed  for  a  clumsy  effort,  intended  to 
prevent  the  fall  of  the  scissors,  which  presumably  he  had  seen 
slide.  Fortunately,  these  little  scissors  of  English  steel  were 
broken,  and  Madame  de  Renal  did  not  spare  her  regrets  that 
Julien  had  not  succeeded  in  getting  nearer  to  her.  "You 
noticed  them  falling  before  I  did — you  could  have  prevented 
it,  instead,  all  your  zealousness  only  succeeding  in  giving 
me  a  very  big  kick."  All  this  took  in  the  sub-perfect,  but  not 
Madame  Derville.  "  That  pretty  boy  has  very  silly  manners," 
she  thought.  The  social  code  of  a  provincial  capital  never 
forgives  this  kind  of  lapse. 

Madame  de  Renal  found  an  opportunity  of  saying  to  Julien, 
"  Be  prudent,  I  order  you." 

Julien  appreciated  his  own  clumsiness.  He  was  upset.  He 
deliberated  with  himself  for  a  long  time,  in  order  to  ascertain 
whether  or  not  he  ought  to  be  angry  at  the  expression  "  I 
order  you."  He  was  silly  enough  to  think  she  might  have 
said  "  I  order  you,"  if  it  were  some  question  concerning  the 
children's  education,  but  in  answering  my  love  she  puts  me 
on  an  equality.  It  is  impossible  to  love  without  equality  .  .  . 
and  all  his  mind  ran  riot  in  making  common-places  on  equality. 
He  angrily  repeated  to  himself  that  verse  of  Corneille  which 
Madame  Derville  had  taught  him  some  days  before. 

'•  L'amour 
Fait  les  egalites,  et  ne  les  cherche  pas." 

Julien  who  had  never  had  a  mistress  in  his  whole  life,  but 
yet  insisted  on  playing  the  role  of  a  Don  Juan,  made  a  shock- 
ing fool  of  himself  all  day.  He  had  only  one  sensible  idea. 
Bored  with  himself  and  Madame  de  Renal,  he  viewed  with 
apprehension  the  advance  of  the  evening  when  he  would  have 
to  sit  by  her  side  in  the  darkness  of  the  garden.  He  told 
M.  de  Renal  that  he  was  going  to  Verrieres  to  see  the  cure. 
He  left  after  dinner,  and  only  came  back  in  the  night. 

At  Verrieres  Julien  found  M.  Chelan  occupied  in  moving. 
He  had  just  been  deprived  of  his  living;  the  curate  Maslon 


88  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

was  replacing  him.  Julien  helped  the  good  cure,  and  it 
occurred  to  him  to  write  to  Fouque  that  the  irresistible 
mission  which  he  felt  for  the  holy  ministry  had  previously 
prevented  him  from  accepting  his  kind  offer,  but  that  he  had 
just  seen  an  instance  of  injustice,  and  that  perhaps  it  would  be 
safer  not  to  enter  into  Holy  Orders. 

Julien  congratulated  himself  on  his  subtlety  in  exploiting  the 
dismissal  of  the  cure  of  Verrieres  so  as  to  leave  himself  a  loop- 
hole for  returning  to  commerce  in  the  event  of  a  gloomy  pru- 
dence routing  the  spirit  of  heroism  from  his  mind. 


CHAPTER  XV 


THE  COCK  S   SONG 


Amour  en  latin  faict  amour  ; 
Or  done  provient  d'amour  la  mart, 
Et,  par  avant,  souley  qui  moreq, 
Deuil,  plours,  pieges,  forfailz,  remord. 

Blason  D'Amour. 

If  Julien  had  possessed  a  little  of  that  adroitness  on  which  he 
so  gratuitously  plumed  himself,  he  could  have  congratulated 
himself  the  following  day  on  the  effect  produced  by  his  journey 
to  Verrieres.  His  absence  had  caused  his  clumsiness  to  be 
forgotten.  But  on  that  day  also  he  was  rather  sulky.  He 
had  a  ludicrous  idea  in  the  evening,  and  with  singular  courage 
he  communicated  it  to  Madame  de  Renal.  They  had 
scarcely  sat  down  in  the  garden  before  Julien  brought  his 
mouth  near  Madame  de  Renal's  ear  without  waiting  till  it 
was  sufficiently  dark  and  at  the  risk  of  compromising  her 
terribly,  said  to  her, 

"  Madame,  to-night,  at  two  o'clock,  I  shall  go  into  your 
room,  I  must  tell  you  something." 

Julien  trembled  lest  his  request  should  be  granted.  His 
rakish  pose  weighed  him  down  so  terribly  that  if  he  could 
have  followed  his  own  inclination  he  would  have  returned  to 
his  room  for  several  days  and  refrained  from  seeing  the  ladies 
any  more.  He  realised  that  he  had  spoiled  by  his  clever 
conduct  of  last  evening  all  the  bright  prospects  of  the  day 
that  had  just  passed,  and  was  at  his  wits'  end  what  to  do. 

Madame  de  Renal  answered  the  impertinent  declaration 
which  Julien  had  dared  to  make  to  her  with  indignation 
which  was  real  and  in  no  way  exaggerated.  He  thought  he 
could    see   contempt   in    her   curt   reply.      The    expression 


9o  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"  for  shame,"  had  certainly  occurred  in  that  whispered  answer. 

Julien  went  to  the  children's  room  under  the  pretext  of 
having  something  to  say  to  them,  and  on  his  return  he  placed 
himself  beside  Madame  Derville  and  very  far  from  Madame 
de  Renal.  He  thus  deprived  himself  of  all  possibility  of 
taking  her  hand.  The  conversation  was  serious,  and  Julien 
acquitted  himself  very  well,  apart  from  a  few  moments  of 
silence  during  which  he  was  cudgelling  his  brains. 

"  Why  can't  I  invent  some  pretty  manoeuvre,"  he  said  to  him- 
self which  will  force  Madame  de  Renal  to  vouchsafe  to  me 
those  unambiguous  signs  of  tenderness  which  a  few  days  ago 
made  me  think  that  she  was  mine. 

Julien  was  extremely  disconcerted  by  the  almost  desperate 
plight  to  which  he  had  brought  his  affairs.  Nothing,  however, 
would  have  embarassed  him  more  than  success. 

When  they  separated  at  midnight,  his  pessimism  made  him 
think  that  he  enjoyed  Madame  Derville's  contempt,  and  that 
probably  he  stood  no  better  with  Madame  de  Renal. 

Feeling  in  a  very  bad  temper  and  very  humiliated,  Julien 
did  not  sleep.  He  was  leagues  away  from  the  idea  of  giving 
up  all  intriguing  and  planning,  and  of  living  from  day  to  day 
with  Madame  de  Renal,  and  of  being  contented  like  a  child 
with  the  happiness  brought  by  every  day. 

He  racked  his  brains  inventing  clever  manoeuvres,  which  an 
instant  afterwards  he  found  absurd,  and,  to  put  it  shortly, 
was  very  unhappy  when  two  o'clock  rang  from  the  castle  clock. 

The  noise  woke  him  up  like  the  cock's  crow  woke  up  St. 
Peter.  The  most  painful  episode  was  now  timed  to  begin 
— he  had  not  given  a  thought  to  his  impertinent  proposition, 
since  the  moment  when  he  had  made  it  and  it  had  been  so 
badly  received. 

"  I  have  told  her  that  I  will  go  to  her  at  two  o'clock,"  he 
said  to  himself  as  he  got  up,  "  I  may  be  inexperienced  and 
coarse,  as  the  son  of  a  peasant  naturally  would  be.  Madame 
Derville  has  given  me  to  understand  as  much,  but  at  any  rate, 
I  will  not  be  weak." 

Julien  had  reason  to  congratulate  himself  on  his  courage, 
for  he  had  never  put  his  self-control  to  so  painful  a  test.  As 
he  opened  his  door,  he  was  trembling  to  such  an  extent  that 
his  knees  gave  way  under  him,  and  he  was  forced  to  lean 
against  the  wall. 


THE  COCK'S  SONG  91 

He  was  without  shoes ;  he  went  and  listened  at  M.  de 
Renal's  door,  and  could  hear  his  snoring.  He  was  disconso- 
late, he  had  no  longer  any  excuse  for  not  going  to  her  room. 
But,  Great  Heaven  !  What  was  he  to  do  there  ?  He  had  no 
plan,  and  even  if  he  had  had  one,  he  felt  himself  so  nervous 
that  he  would  have  been  incapable  of  carrying  it  out. 

Eventually,  suffering  a  thousand  times  more  than  if  he  had 
been  walking  to  his  death,  he  entered  the  little  corridor  that 
led  to  Madame  de  Renal's  room.  He  opened  the  door  with 
a  trembling  hand  and  made  a  frightful  noise. 

There  was  light ;  a  night  light  was  burning  on  the  mantelpiece. 
He  had  not  expected  this  new  misfortune.  As  she  saw  him 
enter,  Madame  de  Renal  got  quickly  out  of  bed.  "  Wretch," 
she  cried.  There  was  a  little  confusion.  Julien  forgot  his 
useless  plans,  and  turned  to  his  natural  rle.  To  fail  to  please 
so  charming  a  woman  appeared  to  him  the  greatest  of 
misfortunes.  His  only  answer  to  her  reproaches  was  to  throw 
himself  at  her  feet  while  he  kissed  her  knees.  As  she  was 
speaking  to  him  with  extreme  harshness,  he  burst  into 
tears. 

When  Julien  came  out  of  Madame  de  Renal's  room  some 
hours^afterwards,  one  could  have  said,  adopting  the  conventional 
language  of  the  novel,  that  there  was  nothing  left  to  be  desired. 
In  fact,  he  owed  to  the  love  he  had  inspired,  and  to  the 
unexpected  impression  which  her  alluring  charms  had  produced 
upon  him,  a  victory  to  which  his  own  clumsy  tactics  would 
never  have  led  him. 

But  victim  that  he  was  of  a  distorted  pride,  he  pretended 
even  in  the  sweetest  moments  to  play  the  role  of  a  man 
accustomed  to  the  subjugation  of  women  :  he  made  incredible 
but  deliberate  efforts  to  spoil  his  natural  charm.  Instead  of 
watching  the  transports  which  he  was  bringing  into  existence, 
and  those  pangs  of  remorse  which  only  set  their  keenness  into 
fuller  relief,  the  idea  of  duty  was  continually  before  his  eyes. 
He  feared  a  frightful  remorse,  and  eternal  ridicule,  if  he  de- 
parted from  the  ideal  model  he  proposed  to  follow.  In  a  word, 
the  very  quality  which  made  Julien  into  a  superior  being 
was  precisely  that  which  prevented  him  from  savouring  the 
happiness  which  was  placed  within  his  grasp.  It's  like  the 
case  of  a  young  girl  of  sixteen  with  a  charming  complexion 
who  is  mad  enough  to  put  on  rouge  before  going  to  a  ball. 


92  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Mortally  terrified  by  the  apparition  of  Julien,  Madame  de 
Renal  was  soon  a  prey  to  the  most  cruel  alarm.  The  prayers 
and  despair  of  Julien  troubled  her  keenly. 

Even  when  there  was  nothing  left  for  her  to  refuse  him  she 
pushed  Julien  away  from  her  with  a  genuine  indignation,  and 
straightway  threw  herself  into  his  arms.  There  was  no  plan 
apparent  in  all  this  conduct.  She  thought  herself  eternally 
damned,  and  tried  to  hide  from  herself  the  sight  of  hell  by 
loading  Julien  with  the  wildest  caresses.  In  a  word,  nothing 
would  have  been  lacking  in  our  hero's  happiness,  not  even  an 
ardent  sensibility  in  the  woman  whom  he  had  just  captured,  if 
he  had  only  known  how  to  enjoy  it.  Julien's  departure  did 
not  in  any  way  bring  to  an  end  those  ecstacies  which  thrilled 
her  in  spite  of  herself,  and  those  troubles  of  remorse  which 
lacerated  her. 

"  My  God  !  being  happy — being  loved,  is  that  all  it  comes 
to  ?  "  This  was  Julien's  first  thought  as  he  entered  his  room. 
He  was  a  prey  to  the  astonishment  and  nervous  anxiety  of 
the  man  who  has  just  obtained  what  he  has  long  desired. 
He  has  been  accustomed  to  desire,  and  has  no  longer  anything 
to  desire,  and  nevertheless  has  no  memories.  Like  a  soldier 
coming  back  from  parade.  Julien  was  absorbed  in  rehearsing 
the  details  of  his  conduct.  "  Have  I  failed  in  nothing  which 
I  owe  to  myself?     Have  I  played  my  part  well?  " 

And  what  a  part !  the  part  of  a  man  accustomed  to  be 
brilliant  with  women. 


CHATER  XVI 

THE   DAY   AFTER 

He  turned  his  lips  to  hers  and  with  his  hand 
Called  back  the  tangles  of  her  wandering  hair. 

Don  Juan,  c.  i,  st.  170. 

Happily  for  Julien's  fame,  Madame  de  Renal  had  been  too 
agitated  and  too  astonished  to  appreciate  the  stupidity  of  the 
man  who  had  in  a  single  moment  become  the  whole  to  world 
her. 

"  Oh,  my  God  ! "  she  said  to  herself,  as  she  pressed  him 
to  retire  when  she  saw  the  dawn  break,  "if  my  husband  has 
heard  the  noise,  I  am  lost."  Julien,  who  had  had  the  time 
to  make  up  some  phrases,  remembered  this  one, 

"  Would  you  regret  your  life  ?  " 

"  Oh,  very  much  at  a  moment  like  this,  but  I  should  not 
regret  having  known  you." 

Julien  thought  it  incumbent  on  his  dignity  to  go  back  to  his 
room  in  broad  daylight  and  with  deliberate  imprudence. 

The  continuous  attention  with  which  he  kept  on  studying  his 
slightest  actions  with  the  absurd  idea  of  appearing  a  man  of 
experience  had  only  one  advantage.  When  he  saw  Madame 
de  Renal  again  at  breakfast  his  conduct  was  a  masterpiece  of 
prudence. . 

As  for  her,  she  could  not  look  at  him  without  blushing  up 
to  the  eyes,  and  could  not  live  a  moment  without  looking  at 
him.  She  realised  her  own  nervousness,  and  her  efforts  to 
hide  it  redoubled.  Julien  only  lifted  his  eyes  towards  her 
once.  At  first  Madame  de  Renal  admired  his  prudence : 
soon  seeing  that  this  single  look  was  not  repeated,  she  became 
alarmed.  Could  it  be  that  he  does  not  love  me  ?  she  said  to 
herself.  Alas !  I  am  quite  old  for  him.  I  am  ten  years 
older  than  he  is." 


94  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

As  she  passed  from  the  dining-room  to  the  garden,  she 
pressed  Julien's  hand.  In  the  surprise  caused  by  so  singular 
a  mark  of  love,  he  regarded  her  with  passion,  for  he  had 
thought  her  very  pretty  over  breakfast,  and  while  keeping 
his  eyes  downcast  he  had  passed  his  time  in  thinking  of  the 
details  of  her  charms.  This  look  consoled  Madame  de  Renal. 
It  did  not  take  away  all  her  anxiety,  but  her  anxiety  tended  to 
take  away  nearly  completely  all  her  remorse  towards  her 
husband. 

The  husband  had  noticed  nothing  at  breakfast.  It  was 
not  so  with  Madame  Derville.  She  thought  she  saw  Madame 
de  Renal  on  the  point  of  succumbing.  During  the  whole  day 
her  bold  and  incisive  friendship  regaled  her  cousin  with  those 
inuendoes  which  were  intended  to  paint  in  hideous  colours 
the  dangers  she  was  running. 

Madame  de  Renal  was  burning  to  find  herself  alone  with 
Julien.  She  wished  to  ask  him  if  he  still  loved  her.  In  spite 
of  the  unalterable  sweetness  of  her  character,  she  was  several 
times  on  the  point  of  notifying  her  friend  how  officious  she 
was. 

Madame  Derville  arranged  things  so  adroitly  that  evening 
in  the  garden,  that  she  found  herself  placed  between  Madame 
de  Renal  and  Julien.  Madame  de  Renal,  who  had  thought 
in  her  imagination  how  delicious  it  would  be  to  press  Julien's 
hand  and  carry  it  to  her  lips,  was  not  able  to  address  a  single 
word  to  him. 

This  hitch  increased  her  agitation.  She  was  devoured  by 
one  pang  of  remorse.  She  had  so  scolded  Julien  for  his 
imprudence  in  coming  to  her  room  on  the  preceding  night, 
that  she  trembled  lest  he  should  not  come  to-nignt.  She 
left  the  garden  early  and  went  and  ensconced  herself  in  her  room, 
but  not  being  able  tc  control  her  impatience,  she  went  and 
glued  her  ear  to  Julien's  door.  In  spite  of  the  uncertainty 
and  passion  which  devoured  her,  she  did  not  dare  to  enter. 
This  action  seemed  to  her  the  greatest  possible  meanness, 
for  it  forms  the  basis  of  a  provincial  proverb. 

The  servants  had  not  yet  all  gone  to  bed.  Prudence  at  last 
compelled  her  to  return  to  her  room.  Two  hours  of  waiting 
were  two  centuries  of  torture. 

Julien  was  too  faithful  to  what  he  called  his  duty  to  fail  to 
accomplish  stage  by  stage  what  he  had  mapped  out  for  himself. 


THE  DAY  AFTER  95 

As  one  o'clock  struck,  he  escaped  softly  from  his  room, 
assured  himself  that  the  master  of  the  house  was  soundly 
asleep,  and  appeared  in  Madame  de  Renal's  room.  To-night 
he  experienced  more  happiness  by  the  side  of  his  love, 
for  he  thought  less  constantly  about  the  part  he  had  to  play. 
He  had  eyes  to  see,  and  ears  to  hear.  What  Madame  de 
Renal  said  to  him  about  his  age  contributed  to  give  him  some 
assurance. 

"  Alas  !  I  am  ten  years  older  than  you.  How  can  you 
love  me  ?  "  she  repeated  vaguely,  because  the  idea  oppressed 
her. 

Julien  could  not  realise  her  happiness,  but  he  saw  that  it 
was  genuine  and  he  forgot  almost  entirely  his  own  fear  of 
being  ridiculous. 

The  foolish  thought  that  he  was  regarded  as  an  inferior, 
by  reason  of  his  obscure  birth,  disappeared  also.  As  Julien's 
transports  reassured  his  timid  mistress,  she  regained  a  little  of 
her  happiness,  and  of  her  power  to  judge  her  lover.  Happily,  he 
had  not,  on  this  occasion,  that  artificial  air  which  had  made 
the  assignation  of  the  previous  night  a  triumph  rather  than  a 
pleasure.  If  she  had  realised  his  concentration  on  playing  a 
part  that  melancholy  discovery  would  have  taken  away  all  her 
happiness  for  ever.  She  could  only  have  seen  in  it  the 
result  of  the  difference  in  their  ages. 

Although  Madame  de  Renal  had  never  thought  of  the 
theories  of  love,  difference  in  age  is  next  to  difference  in 
fortune,  one  of  the  great  commonplaces  of  provincial  witticisms, 
whenever  love  is  the  topic  of  conversation. 

In  a  few  days  Julien  surrendered  himself  with  all  the  ardour 
of  his  age,  and  was  desperately  in  love, 

"  One  must  own,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  that  she  has  an 
angelic  kindness  of  soul,  and  no  one  in  the  world  is  prettier." 

He  had  almost  completely  given  up  playing  a  part.  In  a 
moment  of  abandon,  he  even  confessed  to  her  all  his 
nervousness.  This  confidence  raised  the  passion  which  he 
was  inspiring  to  its  zenith.  "  And  I  have  no  lucky  rival  after 
all,"  said  Madame  de  Renal  to  herself  with  delight.  She 
ventured  to  question  him  on  the  portrait  in  which  he  used  to 
be  so  interested.  Julien  swore  to  her  that  it  was  that  of  a 
man. 

When  Madame  de  Renal  had  enough  presence  of  mind  left 


96  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

50  reflect,  she  did  not  recover  from  her  astonishment  that  so 
great  a  happiness  could  exist;  and  that  she  had  never  had 
anything  of. 

"  Oh,"  she  said  to  herself,  "  if  I  had  only  known  Julien  ten 
years  ago  when  I  was  still  considered  pretty." 

Julien  was  far  from  having  thoughts  like  these.  His  love 
was  still  akin  to  ambition.  It  was  the  joy  of  possessing,  poor, 
unfortunate  and  despised  as  he  was,  so  beautiful  a  woman. 
His  acts  of  devotion,  and  his  ecstacies  at  the  sight  of  his 
mistress's  charms  finished  by  reassuring  her  a  little  with 
regard  to  the  difference  of  age.  If  she  had  possessed  a  little 
of  that  knowledge  of  life  which  the  woman  of  thirty  has 
enjoyed  in  the  more  civilised  of  countries  for  quite  a  long 
time,  she  would  have  trembled  for  the  duration  of  a  love, 
which  only  seemed  to  thrive  on  novelty  and  the  intoxication 
of  a  young  man's  vanity.  In  those  moments  when  he  forgot 
his  ambition,  Julien  admired  ecstatically  even  the  hats  and 
even  the  dresses  of  Madame  de  Renal.  He  could  not  sate 
himself  with  the  pleasure  of  smelling  their  perfume.  He  would 
open  her  mirrored  cupboard,  and  remain  hours  on  end 
admiring  the  beauty  and  the  order  of  everything  that  he 
found  there.  His  love  leaned  on  him  and  looked  at  him- 
He  was  looking  at  those  jewels  and  those  dresses  which  had 
had  been  her  wedding  presents. 

"  I  might  have  married  a  man  like  that,"  thought  Madame 
de  Renal  sometimes.  "  What  a  fiery  soul !  What  a  deh'ghtful 
life  one  would  have  with  him  ?  " 

As  for  Julien,  he  had  never  been  so  near  to  those  terrible 
instruments  of  feminine  artillery.  "  It  is  impossible,"  he  said 
to  himself  "for  there  to  be  anything  more  beautiful  in  Paris." 
He  could  find  no  flaw  in  his  happiness.  The  sincere 
admiration  and  ecstacies  of  his  mistress  would  frequently 
make  him  forget  that  silly  pose  which  had  rendered  him  so 
stiff  and  almost  ridiculous  during  the  first  moments  of  the 
intrigue.  There  were  moments  where,  in  spite  of  his  habitual 
hypocrisy,  he  found  an  extreme  delight  in  confessing  to  this 
great  lady  who  admired  him,  his  ignorance  of  a  crowd  of  little 
usages.  His  mistress's  rank  seemed  to  lift  him  above  himself. 
Madame  de  Renal,  on  her  side,  would  find  the  sweetest  thrill 
of  intellectual  voluptuousness  in  thus  instructing  in  a  number 
of  little  things  this  young  man  who  was  so   full  of  genius, 


THE  DAY  AFTER  97 

and  who  was  looked  upon  by  everyone  as  destined  one  day 
to  go  so  far.  Even  the  sub-prefect  and  M.  Valenod  could 
not  help  admiring  him.  She  thought  it  made  them  less 
foolish.  As  for  Madame  Derville,  she  was  very  far  from  being 
in  a  position  to  express  the  same  sentiments.  Rendered 
desperate  by  what  she  thought  she  divined,  and  seeing  that 
her  good  advice  was  becoming  offensive  to  a  woman  who 
had  literally  lost  her  head,  she  left  Vergy  without  giving  the 
explanation,  which  her  friend  carefully  refrained  from  asking. 
Madame  de  Renal  shed  a  few  tears  for  her,  and  soon  found 
her  happiness  greater  than  ever.  As  a  result  of  her  departure, 
she  found  herself  alone  with  her  lover  nearly  the  whole  day. 

Julien  abandoned  himself  all  the  more  to  the  delightful 
society  of  his  sweetheart,  since,  whenever  he  was  alone, 
Fouque's  fatal  proposition  still  continued  to  agitate  him. 
During  the  first  days  of  his  novel  life  there  were  moments 
when  the  man  who  had  never  loved,  who  had  never  been 
loved  by  anyone,  would  find  so  delicious  a  pleasure  in  being 
sincere,  that  he  was  on  the  point  of  confessing  to  Madame  de 
Renal  that  ambition  which  up  to  then  had  been  the  very 
essence  of  his  existence.  He  would  have  liked  to  have  been 
able  to  consult  her  on  the  strange  temptation  which  Fouque's 
offer  held  out  to  him,  but  a  little  episode  rendered  any 
frankness  impossible. 


CHAPTER  XVII 


THE  FIRST    DEPUTY 


Oh,  how  this  spring  of  love  resembleth 
The  uncertain  glory  of  an  April  day, 
Which  now  shows  all  the  beauty  of  the  sun, 
And  by  and  by  a  cloud  takes  all  away. 

Two  Gentlemen  of  Verona, 

One  evening  when  the  sun  was  setting,  and  he  was  sitting 
near  his  love,  at  the  bottom  of  the  orchard,  far  from  all 
intruders,  he  meditated  deeply.  "  Will  such  sweet  moments  " 
he  said  to  himself  "  last  for  ever  ?  "  His  soul  was  engrossed  in 
the  difficulty  of  deciding  on  a  calling.  He  lamented  that 
great  attack  of  unhappiness  which  comes  at  the  end  of 
childhood  and  spoils  the  first  years  of  youth  in  those  who 
are  not  rich. 

"  Ah  ! "  he  exclaimed,  "  was  not  Napoleon  the  heaven-sent 
saviour  for  young  Frenchmen  ?  Who  is  to  replace  him  ? 
What  will  those  unfortunate  youths  do  without  him,  who, 
even  though  they  are  richer  than  I  am,  have  only  just  the  few 
crowns  necessary  to  procure  an  education  for  themselves,  but 
have  not  at  the  age  of  twenty  enough  money  to  buy  a  man 
and  advance  themselves  in  their  career."  "Whatever  one 
does,"  he  added,  with  a  deep  sigh,  "ths  fatal  memory  will 
always  prevent  our  being  happy." 

He  suddenly  saw  Madame  de  Renal  frown.  She  assumed 
a  cold  and  disdainful  air.  She  thought  his  way  of  looking  at 
things  typical  of  a  servant.  Brought  up  as  she  was  with  the 
idea  that  she  was  very  rich,  she  took  it  for  granted  that  Julien 
was  so  also.  She  loved  him  a  thousand  times  more  than  life 
and  set  no  store  by  money. 

Julien  was  lar  from  guessing  these  ideas,  but  that  frown 
brought  him  back  to  earth.      He  had  sufficient  presence  of 


THE  FIRST  DEPUTY  99 

mind  to  manipulate  his  phrases,  and  to  give  the  noble  lady 
who  was  sitting  so  near  him  on  the  grass  seat  to  understand 
that  the  words  he  had  just  repeated  had  been  heard  by  him 
during  his  journey  to  his  friend  the  wood  merchant.  It  was 
the  logic  of  infidels. 

"  Well,  have  nothing  to  do  with  those  people,"  said  Madame 
de  Renal,  still  keeping  a  little  of  that  icy  air  which  had 
suddenly  succeeded  an  expression  of  the  warmest  tenderness. 

This  frown,  or  rather  his  remorse  for  his  own  imprudence, 
was  the  first  check  to  the  illusion  which  was  transporting' 
Julien.  He  said  to  himself,  "  She  is  good  and  sweet,  she  has 
a  great  fancy  for  me,  but  she  has  been  brought  up  in  the 
enemy's  camp.  They  must  be  particularly  afraid  of  that  class 
of  men  of  spirit  who,  after  a  good  education,  have  not  enough 
money  to  take  up  a  career.  What  would  become  of  those 
nobles  if  we  had  an  opportunity  of  fighting  them  with  equal 
arms.  Suppose  me,  for  example,  mayor  of  Verrieres,  and  as 
well  meaning  and  honest  as  M.  de  Renal  is  at  bottom.  What 
short  shrift  I  should  make  of  the  vicaire,  M.  Valenod  and  all 
their  jobberies  !  How  justice  would  triumph  in  Verrieres.  It 
is  not  their  talents  which  would  stop  me.  They  are  always 
fumbling  about." 

That  day  Julien's  happiness  almost  became  permanent. 
Our  hero  lacked  the  power  of  daring  to  be  sincere.  He  ought 
to  have  had  the  courage  to  have  given  battle,  and  on  the  spot ; 
Madame  de  Renal  had  been  astonished  by  Julien's  phrase, 
because  the  men  in  her  circle  kept  on  repeating  that  the 
return  of  Robespierre  was  essentialy  possible  by  reason  of  those 
over-educated  young  persons  of  the  lower  classes.  Madame 
de  Renal's  coldness  lasted  a  longish  time,  and  struck  Julien 
as  marked.  The  reason  was  that  the  fear  that  she  had  said 
something  in  some  way  or  other  disagreeable  to  him,  succeeded 
her  annoyance  for  his  own  breach  of  taste.  This  unhappiness 
was  vividly  reflected  in  those  features  which  looked  so  pure 
and  so  nave  when  she  was  happy  and  away  from  intruders. 

Julien  no  longer  dared  to  surrender  himself  to  his  dreams. 
Growing  calmer  and  less  infatuated,  he  considered  that  it  was 
imprudent  to  go  and  see  Madame  de  Renal  in  her  room.  It 
was  better  for  her  to  come  to  him.  If  a  servant  noticed 
her  going  about  the  house,  a  dozen  different  excuses  could 
explain  it. 


xoo       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

But  this  arrangement  had  also  its  inconveniences.  Julien 
had  received  from  Fouque  some  books,  which  he,  as  a 
theology  student  would  never  have  dared  to  ask  for  in  a 
bookshop.  He  only  dared  to  open  them  at  night.  He 
would  often  have  found  it  much  more  convenient  not  to  be 
interrupted  by  a  visit,  the  very  waiting  for  which  had  even  on 
the  evening  before  the  little  scene  in  the  orchard  complexly 
destroyed  his  mood  for  reading. 

He  had  Madame  de  Renal  to  thank  for  understanding  books 
in  quite  a  new  way.  He  had  dared  to  question  her  on  a 
number  of  little  things,  the  ignorance  of  which  cuts  quite  short 
the  intellectual  progress  of  any  young  man  born  out  of  society, 
however  much  natural  genius  one  may  choose  to  ascribe  to 
him. 

This  education  given  through  sheer  love  by  a  woman  who 
was  extremely  ignorant,  was  a  piece  of  luck.  Julien  managed 
to  get  a  clear  insight  into  society  such  as  it  is  to-day.  His 
mind  was  not  bewildered  by  the  narration  of  what  it  had 
been  once,  two  thousand  years  ago,  or  even  sixty  years  ago, 
in  the  time  of  Voltaire  and  Louis  XV.  The  scales  fell  from 
his  eyes  to  his  inexpressible  joy,  and  he  understood  at  last 
what  was  going  on  in  Verrieres. 

In  the  first  place  there  were  the  very  complicated  intrigues 
which  had  been  woven  for  the  last  two  years  around  the 
prefect  of  Besancon.  They  were  backed  up  by  letters  from 
Paris,  written  by  the  cream  of  the  aristocracy.  The  scheme 
was  to  make  M.  de  Moirod  (he  was  the  most  devout  man  in 
the  district)  the  first  and  not  the  second  deputy  of  the  mayor 
of  Verrieres. 

He  had  for  a  competitor  a  very  rich  manufacturer  whom 
it  was  essential  to  push  back  into  the  place  of  second  deputy. 

Julien  understood  at  last  the  inuendoes  which  he  had 
surprised,  when  the  high  society  of  the  locality  used  to  come 
and  dine  at  M.  de  Renal's.  This  privileged  society  was 
deeply  concerned  with  the  choice  of  a  first  deputy,  while  the 
rest  of  the  town,  and  above  all,  the  Liberals,  did  not  even 
suspect  its  possibility.  The  factor  which  made  the  matter 
important  was  that,  as  everybody  knows,  the  east  side  of  the 
main  street  of  Verrieres  has  to  be  put  more  than  nine  feet 
back  since  that  street  has  become  a  royal  route. 

Now  if  M.  de  Moirod,  who  had  three  houses  liable  to  have 


THE  FIRST  DEPUTY  101 

their  frontage  put  back,  succeeded  in  becoming  first  deputy 
and  consequently  mayor  in  the  event  of  M.  de  Renal  being 
elected  to  the  chamber,  he  would  shut  his  eyes,  and  it  would 
be  possible  to  make  little  imperceptible  repairs  in  the  houses 
projecting  on  to  the  public  road,  as  the  result  of  which  they 
would  last  a  hundred  years.  In  spite  of  the  great  piety  and 
proved  integrity  of  M.  de  Moirod,  everyone  was  certain  that 
he  would  prove  amenable,  because  he  had  a  great  many 
children.  Among  the  houses  liable  to  have  their  frontage 
put  back  nine  belonged  to  the  cream  of  Verrieres  society. 

In  Julien's  eyes  this  intrigue  was  much  more  important 
than  the  history  of  the  battle  of  Fontenoy,  whose  name  he 
now  came  across  for  the  first  time  in  one  of  the  books  which 
Fouque  had  sent  him.  There  had  been  many  things  which 
had  astonished  Julien  since  the  time  five  years  ago  when  he 
had  started  going  to  the  cure's  in  the  evening.  But  discretion 
and  humility  of  spirit  being  the  primary  qualities  of  a 
theological  student,  it  had  always  been  impossible  for  him 
to  put  questions. 

One  day  Madame  de  Renal  was  giving  an  order  to  her 
husband's  valet  who  was  Julien's  enemy. 

"  But,  Madame,  to-day  is  the  last  Friday  in  the  month," 
the  man  answered  in  a  rather  strange  manner. 

"  Go,"  said  Madame  de  Renal. 

"  Well,"  said  Julien,  "  I  suppose  he's  going  to  go  to  that 
corn  shop  which  was  once  a  church,  and  has  recently  been 
restored  to  religion,  but  what  is  he  going  to  do  there  ?  That's 
one  of  the  mysteries  which  I  have  never  been  able  to  fathom." 

"  It's  a  very  literary  institution,  but  a  very  curious  one," 
answered  Madame  de  Renal.  "  Women  are  not  admitted  to 
it.  All  I  know  is,  that  everybody  uses  the  second  person 
singular.  This  servant,  for  instance,  will  go  and  meet  M. 
Valenod  there,  and  the  haughty  prig  will  not  be  a  bit  offended 
at  hearing  himself  addressed  by  Saint-Jean  in  that  familiar 
way,  and  will  answer  him  in  the  same  way.  If  you  are  keen 
on  knowing  what  takes  place,  I  will  ask  M.  de  Maugiron 
and  M.  Valenod  for  details.  We  pay  twenty  francs  for  each 
servant,  to  prevent  their  cutting  our  throats  one  fine  day. 

Time  flew.  The  memory  of  his  mistress's  charms  distracted 
Julien  from  his  black  ambition.  The  necessity  of  refraining 
from  mentioning  gloomy  or  intellectual  topics  since  they  both 


ioa       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

belonged  to  opposing  parties,  added,  without  his  suspecting 
it,  to  the  happiness  which  he  owed  her,  and  to  the  dominion 
which  she  acquired  over  him. 

On  the  occasions  when  the  presence  of  the  precocious 
children  reduced  them  to  speaking  the  language  of  cold  reason, 
Julien  looking  at  her  with  eyes  sparkling  with  love,  would 
listen  with  complete  docility  to  her  explanations  of  the  world 
as  it  is.  Frequently,  in  the  middle  of  an  account  of  some 
cunning  piece  of  jobbery,  with  reference  to  a  road  or  a 
contract,  Madame  de  Renal's  mind  would  suddenly  wander  to 
the  very  point  of  delirium.  Julien  found  it  necessary  to  scold 
her.  She  indulged  when  with  him  in  the  same  intimate 
gestures  which  she  used  with  her  own  children.  The  fact  was 
that  there  were  days  when  she  deceived  herself  that  she  loved 
him  like  her  own  child.  Had  she  not  repeatedly  to  answer 
his  nave  questions  about  a  thousand  simple  things  that  a 
well-born  child  of  fifteen  knows  quite  well  ?  An  instant  after- 
wards she  would  admire  him  like  her  master.  His  genius 
would  even  go  so  far  as  to  frighten  her.  She  thought  she 
should  see  more  clearly  every  day  the  future  great  man  in 
this  young  abbe.  She  saw  him  Pope;  she  saw  him  first 
minister  like  Richelieu.  "  Shall  I  live  long  enough  to  see 
you  in  your  glory  ?  "  she  said  to  Julien.  "  There  is  room  for  a 
great  man ;  church  and  state  have  need  of  one.' 


CHAPTER  XVIII 

A    KING    AT   VERRIRES 

Do  you  not  deserve  to  be  thrown  aside  like  a  plebeian 
corpse  which  has  no  soul  and  whose  blood  flows  no 
longer  in  its  veins. 

Sermon  oj  the  Bishop  at  the  Chapel  of  Saint  Clement. 

On  the  3rd  of  September  at  ten  o'clock  in  the  evening,  a 
gendarme  woke  up  the  whole  of  Verrieres  by  galloping  up  the 
main  street.     He  brought  the  news  that  His  Majesty  the  King 

of would  arrive  the  following  Sunday,  and  it  was  already 

Tuesday.  The  prefect  authorised,  that  is  to  say,  demanded 
the  forming  of  a  guard  of  honour.  They  were  to  exhibit  all 
possible  pomp.  An  express  messenger  was  sent  to  Vergy. 
M.  de  Renal  arrived  during  the  night  and  found  the  town  in 
a  commotion.  Each  individual  had  his  own  pretensions; 
those  who  were  less  busy  hired  balconies  to  see  the  King. 

Who  was  to  command  the  Guard  of  Honour?  M.  de 
Renal  at  once  realised  how  essential  it  was  in  the  interests  of 
the  houses  liable  to  have  their  frontage  put  back  that  M. 
Moirod  should  have  the  command.  That  might  entitle  him 
to  the  post  of  first  deputy-mayor.  There  was  nothing  to  say 
against  the  devoutness  of  M.  de  Moirod.  It  brooked  no 
comparison,  but  he  had  never  sat  on  a  horse.  He  was  a  man 
of  thirty-six,  timid  in  every  way,  and  equally  frightened  of 
falling  and  of  looking  ridiculous.  The  mayor  had  summoned 
him  as  early  as  five  o'clock  in  the  morning. 

"  You  see,  monsieur,  I  ask  your  advice,  as  though  you 
already  occupy  that  post  to  which  all  the  people  on  the  right 
side  want  to  carry  you.  In  this  unhappy  town,  manufactures 
are  prospering,  the  Liberal  party  is  becoming  possessed  of 
millions,    it   aspires    to   power ;    it   will    manage   to    exploit 


104       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

everything  to  its  own  ends.  Let  us  consult  the  interests  01 
the  king,  the  interest  of  the  monarchy,  and  above  all,  the 
interest  of  our  holy  religion.  Who  do  you  think,  monsieur, 
could  be  entrusted  with  the  command  of  the  guard  of  honour  ? 

In  spite  of  the  terrible  fear  with  which  horses  inspired  him, 
M.  de  Moirod  finished  by  accepting  this  honour  like  a  martyr. 
"  I  shall  know  how  to  take  the  right  tone,"  he  said  to  the 
mayor.  There  was  scarcely  time  enough  to  get  ready  the 
uniforms  which  had  served  seven  years  ago  on  the  occasion  of 
the  passage  of  a  prince  of  the  blood. 

At  seven  o'clock,  Madame  de  Renal  arrived  at  Vergy  with 
Julien  and  the  children.  She  found  her  drawing  room  filled 
with  Liberal  ladies  who  preached  the  union  of  all  parties  and 
had  come  to  beg  her  to  urge  her  husband  to  grant  a  place  to 
theirs  in  the  guard  of  honour.  One  of  them  actually  asserted 
that  if  her  husband  was  not  chosen  he  would  go  bankrupt  out 
of  chagrin.  Madame  de  Renal  quickly  got  rid  of  all  these 
people.     She  seemed  very  engrossed. 

Julien  was  astonished,  and  what  was  more,  angry  that  she 
should  make  a  mystery  of  what  was  disturbing  her,  "  I  had 
anticipated  it,"  he  said  bitterly  to  himself.  "  Her  love  is 
being  overshadowed  by  the  happiness  of  receiving  a  King  in 
her  house.  All  this  hubbub  overcomes  her.  She  will  love 
me  once  more  when  the  ideas  of  her  caste  no  longer  trouble 
her  brain." 

An  astonishing  fact,  he  only  loved  her  the  more. 

The  decorators  began  to  fill  the  house.  He  watched  a 
long  time  for  the  opportunity  to  exchange  a  few  words.  He 
eventually  found  her  as  she  was  coming  out  of  his  own  room, 
carrying  one  of  his  suits.  They  were  alone.  He  tried  to 
speak  to  her.  She  ran  away,  refusing  to  listen  to  him.  "  I 
am  an  absolute  fool  to  love  a  woman  like  that,  whose  ambition 
renders  her  as  mad  as  her  husband." 

She  was  madder.  One  of  her  great  wishes  which  she  had 
never  confessed  to  Julien  for  fear  of  shocking  him,  was  to  see 
him  leave  off,  if  only  for  one  day,  his  gloomy  black  suit.  With 
an  adroitness  which  was  truly  admirable  in  so  ingenuous  a 
woman,  she  secured  first  from  M.  de  Moirod,  and  subsequently, 
from  M.  the  sub-perfect  de  Maugiron,  an  assurance  that  Julien 
should  be  nominated  a  guard  of  honour  in  preference  to  five 
or  six  young  people,  the  sons  of  very  well-off  manufacturers, 


A  KING  AT  VERRIERES  105 

of  whom  two  at  least,  were  models  of  piety.  M.  de  Valenod, 
who  reckoned  on  lending  his  carriage  to  the  prettiest  women 
in  the  town,  and  on  showing  off  his  fine  Norman  steeds, 
consented  to  let  Julien  (the  being  he  hated  most  in  the  whole 
world)  have  one  of  his  horses.  But  all  the  guards  of  honour, 
either  possessed  or  had  borrowed,  one  of  those  pretty  sky-blue 
uniforms,  with  two  silver  colonel  epaulettes,  which  had  shone 
seven  years  ago.  Madame  de  Renal  wanted  a  new  uniform, 
and  she  only  had  four  days  in  which  to  send  to  Besancon  and 
get  from  there  the  uniform,  the  arms,  the  hat,  etc.,  everything 
necessary  for  a  Guard  of  Honour.  The  most  delightful  part 
of  it  was  that  she  thought  it  imprudent  to  get  Julien's  uniform 
made  at  Verrieres.  She  wanted  to  surprise  both  him  and  the 
town. 

Having  settled  the  questions  of  the  guards  of  honour,  and 
of  the  public  welcome  finished,  the  mayor  had  now  to  organise 

a   great   religious   ceremony.      The    King    of  did   not 

wish  to  pass  through  Verrieres  without  visiting  the  famous  relic 
of  St.  Clement,  which  is  kept  at  Bray-le-Haut'  barely  a  league 
from  the  town.  The  authorities  wanted  to  have  a  numerous 
attendance  of  the  clergy,  but  this  matter  was  the  most  difficult 
to  arrange.  M.  Maslon,  the  new  cure,  wanted  to  avoid  at 
any  price  the  presence  of  M.  Chelan.  It  was  in  vain  that 
M.  de  Renal  tried  to  represent  to  him  that  it  would  be 
imprudent  to  do  so.  M.  the  Marquis  de  La  Mole  whose 
ancestors  had  been  governors  of  the  province  for  so  many 
generations,    had   been   chosen   to  accompany  the    King   of 

He    had   known    the    abbe   Chelan    for    thirty    years. 

He  would  certainly  ask  news  of  him  when  he  arrived  at 
Verrieres,  and  if  he  found  him  disgraced  he  was  the  very  man 
to  go  and  route  him  out  in  the  little  house  to  which  he  had 
retired,  accompanied  by  all  the  escort  that  he  had  at  his  dis- 
position.    What  a  rebuff  that  would  be  ? 

"  I  shall  be  disgraced  both  here  and  at  Besancon,"  answered 
the  abbe  Maslon  if  he  appears  among  my  clergy.  A  Jansenist, 
by  the  Lord." 

"  Whatever  you  can  say,  my  dear  abbe,  replied  M.  de 
Renal,  I'll  never  expose  the  administration  of  Verrieres  to 
receiving  such  an  affront  from  M.  de  la  Mole.  You  do  not 
know  him.  He  is  orthodox  enough  at  Court,  but  here  in  the 
provinces,  he  is  a  satirical  wit  and  cynic,  whose  only  object  is 


106       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

to  make  people  uncomfortable.  He  is  capable  of  covering  us 
with  ridicule  in  the  eyes  of  the  Liberals,  simply  in  order  to 
amuse  himself. 

It  was  only  on  the  night  between  the  Saturday  and  the 
Sunday,  after  three  whole  days  of  negotiations  that  the  pride 
of  the  abbe  Maslon  bent  before  the  fear  of  the  mayor,  which 
was  now  changing  into  courage.  It  was  necessary  to  write  a 
honeyed  letter  to  the  abbe  Chelan,  begging  him  to  be  present 
at  the  ceremony  in  connection  with  the  relic  of  Bray-le-Haut, 
if  of  course,  his  great  age  and  his  infirmity  allowed  him  to  do 
so.  M.  Chelan  asked  for  and  obtained  a  letter  of  invitation 
for  Julien,  who  was  to  accompany  him  as  his  sub-deacon. 

From  the  beginning  of  the  Sunday  morning,  thousands  of 
peasants  began  to  arrive  from  the  neighbouring  mountains,  and 
to  inundate  the  streets  of  Verrieres.  It  was  the  finest  sun- 
shine. Finally,  about  three  o'clock,  a  thrill  swept  through  all 
this  crowd.  A  great  fire  had  been  perceived  on  a  rock  two 
leagues  from  Verrieres.  This  signal  announced  that  the  king 
had  just  entered  the  territory  of  the  department.  At  the  same 
time,  the  sound  of  all  the  bells  and  the  repeated  volleys  from 
an  old  Spanish  cannon  which  belonged  to  the  town,  testified 
to  its  joy  at  this  great  event.  Half  the  population  climbed  on 
to  the  roofs.  All  the  women  were  on  the  balconies.  The 
guard  of  honour  started  to  march,  The  brilliant  uniforms 
were  universally  admired  ;  everybody  recognised  a  relative  or  a 
friend.  They  made  fun  of  the  timidity  of  M.  de  Moirod, 
whose  prudent  hand  was  ready  every  single  minute  to  catch 
hold  of  his  saddle-bow.  But  one  remark  resulted  in  all  the 
others  being  forgotten ;  the  first  cavalier  in  the  ninth  line  was 
a  very  pretty,  slim  boy,  who  was  not  recognised  at  first.  He 
soon  created  a  general  sensation,  as  some  uttered  a  cry  of 
indignation,  and  others  were  dumbfounded  with  astonishment. 
They  recognised  in  this  young  man,  who  was  sitting  one  of 
the  Norman  horses  of  M.  Valenod,  little  Sorel,  the  carpenter's 
son.  There  was  a  unanimous  out-cry  against  the  mayor,  above 
all  on  the  part  of  the  Liberals.  What,  because  this  little 
labourer,  who  masqueraded  as  an  abbe,  was  tutor  to  his  brats, 
he  had  the  audacity  to  nominate  him  guard  of  honour  to  the 
prejudice  of  rich  manufacturers  like  so-and-so  and  so  and  so  ! 
"  Those  gentlemen,"  said  a  banker's  wife,  "  ought  to  put  that 
insolent  gutter-boy  in  his  proper  place." 


A  KING  AT  VERRIERES  107 

"  He  is  cunning  and  carries  a  sabre,"  answered  her  neighbour. 
"  He  would  be  dastardly  enough  to  slash  them  in  the  face." 

The  conversation  of  aristocratic  society  was  more  dangerous. 
The  ladies  began  to  ask  each  other  if  the  mayor  alone  was 
responsible  for  this  grave  impropriety.  Speaking  generally, 
they  did  justice  to  his  contempt  for  lack  of  birth. 

Julien  was  the  happiest  of  men,  while  he  was  the  subject  of 
so  much  conversation.  Bold  by  nature,  he  sat  a  horse  better 
than  the  majority  of  the  young  men  of  this  mountain  town. 
He  saw  that,  in  the  eyes  of  the  women,  he  was  the  topic  of 
interest. 

His  epaulettes  were  more  brilliant  than  those  of  the  others, 
because  they  were  new.  His  horse  pranced  at  every  moment. 
He  reached  the  zenith  of  joy. 

His  happiness  was  unbounded  when,  as  they  passed  by  the 
old  rampart,  the  noise  of  the  little  cannon  made  his  horse 
prance  outside  the  line.  By  a  great  piece  of  luck  he  did  not 
fall ;  from  that  moment  he  felt  himself  a  hero.  He  was  one 
of  Napoleon's  officers  of  artillery,  and  was  charging  a  battery. 

One  person  was  happier  than  he.  She  had  first  seen  him 
pass  from  one  of  the  folding  windows  in  the  Htel  deVille. 
Then  taking  her  carriage  and  rapidly  making  a  long  dtour, 
she  arrived  in  time  to  shudder  when  his  horse  took  him  out- 
side the  line.  Finally  she  put  her  carriage  to  the  gallop,  left 
by  another  gate  of  the  town,  succeeded  in  rejoining  the  route 
by  which  the  King  was  to  pass,  and  was  able  to  follow  the 
Guard  of  Honour  at  twenty  paces  distance  in  the  midst  of  a 
noble  dust.  Six  thousand  peasants  cried  "  Long  live  the 
King,"  when  the  mayor  had  the  honour  to  harangue  his 
Majesty.  An  hour  afterwards,  when  all  the  speeches  had  been 
listened  to,  and  the  King  was  going  to  enter  the  town,  the 
little  cannon  began  again  to  discharge  its  spasmodic  volleys. 
But  an  accident  ensued,  the  victim  being,  not  one  of  the 
cannoneers  who  had  proved  their  mettle  at  Leipsic  and  at 
Montreuil,  but  the  future  deputy-mayor,  M.  de  Moirod.  His 
horse  gently  laid  him  in  the  one  heap  of  mud  on  the  high 
road,  a  somewhat  scandalous  circumstance,  inasmuch  as  it 
was  necessary  to  extricate  him  to  allow  the  King  to  pass. 
His  Majesty  alighted  at  the  fine  new  church,  which  was 
decked  out  to-day  with  all  its  crimson  curtains.  The  King 
was  due  to  dine,  and  then  afterwards  take  his  carriage  again 


108       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

and  go  and  pay  his  respects  to  the  celebrated  relic  of  Saint 
Clement.  Scarcely  was  the  King  in  the  church  than  Julien 
galloped  towards  the  house  of  M.  de  Renal.  Once  there  he 
doffed  with  a  sigh  his  fine  sky-blue  uniform,  his  sabre  and  his 
epaulettes,  to  put  on  again  his  shabby  little  black  suit.  He 
mounted  his  horse  again,  and  in  a  few  moments  was  at 
Bray-le-Haut,  which  was  on  the  summit  of  a  very  pretty  hill. 
"Enthusiasm  is  responsible  for  these  numbers  of  peasants," 
thought  Julien.  It  was  impossible  to  move  a  step  at  Verrieres, 
and  here  there  were  more  than  ten  thousand  round  this 
ancient  abbey.  Half  ruined  by  the  vandalism  of  the  Revolu- 
tion, it  had  been  magnificently  restored  since  the  Restoration, 
and  people  were  already  beginning  to  talk  of  miracles.  Julien 
rejoined  the  abbe  Chelan,  who  scolded  him  roundly  and 
gave  him  a  cassock  and  a  surplice.  He  dressed  quickly  and 
followed  M.  Chelan,  who  was  going  to  pay  a  call  on  the 
young  bishop  of  Agde.  He  was  a  nephew  of  M.  de  la  Mole, 
who  had  been  recently  nominated,  and  had  been  charged  with 
the  duty  of  showing  the  relic  to  the  King.  But  the  bishop 
was  not  to  be  found. 

The  clergy  began  to  get  impatient.  It  was  awaiting  its 
chief  in  the  sombre  Gothic  cloister  of  the  ancient  abbey. 
Twenty-four  cures  had  been  brought  together  so  as  to  repre- 
sent the  ancient  chapter  of  Bray-le-Haut,  which  before  1789 
consisted  of  twenty-four  canons.  The  cures,  having  deplored 
the  bishop's  youth  for  three-quarters  of  an  hour,  thought  it 
fitting  for  their  senior  to  visit  Monseigneur  to  apprise  him  that 
the  King  was  on  the  point  of  arriving,  and  that  it  was  time  to 
betake  himself  to  the  choir.  The  great  age  of  M.  Chelan 
gave  him  the  seniority.  In  spite  of  the  bad  temper  which 
he  was  manifesting  to  Julien,  he  signed  him  to  follow.  Julien 
was  wearing  his  surplice  with  distinction.  By  means  of  some 
trick  or  other  of  ecclesiastical  dress,  he  had  made  his  fine  curling 
hair  very  flat,  but  by  a  forgetfulness,  which  redoubled  the 
anger  of  M.  Chelan,  the  spurs  of  the  Guard  of  Honour  could 
be  seen  below  the  long  folds  of  his  cassock. 

When  they  arrived  at  the  bishop's  apartment,  the  tall 
lackeys  with  their  lace-frills  scarcely  deigned  to  answer  the 
old  cure  to  the  effect  that  Monseigneur  was  not  receiving. 
They  made  fun  of  him  when  he  tried  to  explain  that  in  his 
capacity  of  senior  member  of  the  chapter  of  Bray-le-Haut,  he 


A  KING  AT  VERRIERES  109 

had  the  privilege  of  being  admitted  at  any  time  to  the  officiat- 
ing bishop. 

Julien's  haughty  temper  was  shocked  by  the  lackeys' 
insolence.  He  started  to  traverse  the  corridors  of  the  ancient 
abbey,  and  to  shake  all  the  doors  which  he  found.  A  very 
small  one  yielded  to  his  efforts,  and  he  found  himself  in  a 
cell  in  the  midst  of  Monseigneur's  valets,  who  were  dressed  in 
black  suits  with  chains  on  their  necks.  His  hurried  manner 
made  these  gentlemen  think  that  he  had  been  sent  by  the 
bishop,  and  they  let  him  pass.  He  went  some  steps  further 
on,  and  found  himself  in  an  immense  Gothic  hall,  which  was 
extremely  dark,  and  completely  wainscotted  in  black  oak. 
The  ogive  windows  had  all  been  walled  in  with  brick 
except  one.  There  was  nothing  to  disguise  the  coarseness  of 
this  masonry,  which  offered  a  melancholy  contrast  to  the 
ancient  magnificence  of  the  woodwork.  The  two  great  sides 
of  this  hall,  so  celebrated  among  Burgundian  antiquaries,  and 
built  by  the  Duke,  Charles  the  Bold,  about  1470  in  expiation 
of  some  sin,  were  adorned  with  richly  sculptured  wooden 
stalls.  All  the  mysteries  of  the  Apocalypse  were  to  be  seen 
portrayed  in  wood  of  different  colours. 

This  melancholy  magnificence,  debased  as  it  was  by  the 
sight  of  the  bare  bricks  and  the  plaster  (which  was  still  quite 
white)  affected  Julien.  He  stopped  in  silence.  He  saw  at 
the  other  extremity  of  the  hall,  near  the  one  window  which  let 
in  the  daylight,  a  movable  mahogany  mirror.  A  young  man 
in  a  violet  robe  and  a  lace  surplice,  but  with  his  head  bare, 
was  standing  still  three  paces  from  the  glass.  This  piece  of 
furniture  seemed  strange  in  a  place  like  this,  and  had  doubt- 
less been  only  brought  there  on  the  previous  day.  Julien 
thought  that  the  young  man  had  the  appearance  of  being 
irritated.  He  was  solemnly  giving  benedictions  with  his  right 
hand  close  to  the  mirror. 

"What  can  this  mean,"  he  thought.  "Is  this  young  priest 
performing  some  preliminary  ceremony?  Perhaps  he  is  the 
bishop's  secretary.  He  will  be  as  insolent  as  the  lackeys. 
Never  mind  though !  Let  us  try."  He  advanced  and 
traversed  somewhat  slowly  the  length  of  the  hall,  with  his 
gaze  fixed  all  the  time  on  the  one  window,  and  looking  at  the 
young  man  who  continued  without  any  intermission  bestowing 
slowly  an  infinite  number  of  blessings. 


no  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

The  nearer  he  approached  the  better  he  could  distinguish 
his  angry  manner.  The  richness  of  the  lace  surplice  stopped 
Julien  in  spite  of  himself  some  paces  in  front  of  the  mirror. 
"  It  is  my  duty  to  speak,"  he  said  to  himself  at  last.  But  the 
beauty  of  the  hall  had  moved  him,  and  he  was  already  upset 
by  the  harsh  words  he  anticipated. 

The  young  man  saw  him  in  the  mirror,  turned  round,  and 
suddenly  discarding  his  angry  manner,  said  to  him  in  the 
gentlest  tone, 

"  Well,  Monsieur,  has  it  been  arranged  at  last  ?  " 

Julien  was  dumbfounded.  As  the  young  man  began  to 
turn  towards  him,  Julien  saw  the  pectoral  cross  on  his  breast, 
It  was  the  bishop  of  Agde.  "As  young  as  that,"  thought 
Julien.     "  At  most  six  or  eight  years  older  than  I  am  ! " 

He  was  ashamed  of  his  spurs.' 

"  Monseigneur,"  he  said  at  last,  "  I  am  sent  by  M.  Chelan, 
the  senior  of  the  chapter." 

"  Ah,  he  has  been  well  recommended  to  me,"  said  the 
bishop  in  a  polished  tone  which  doubled  Julien's  delight, 
"  But  I  beg  your  pardon,  Monsieur,  I  mistook  you  for  the  person 
who  was  to  bring  me  my  mitre.  It  was  badly  packed  at  Paris. 
The  silver  cloth  towards  the  top  has  been  terribly  spoiled. 
It  will  look  awful,"  ended  the  young  bishop  sadly,  "  And 
besides,  I  am  being  kept  waiting." 

"  Monseigneur,  I  will  go  and  fetch  the  mitre  if  your  grace  will 
let  me." 

Julien's  fine  eyes  did  their  work. 

"  Go,  Monsieur,"  answered  the  bishop,  with  charming  polite- 
ness. "  I  need  it  immediately.  I  am  grieved  to  keep  the 
gentlemen  of  the  chapter  waiting." 

When  Julien  reached  the  centre  of  the  hall,  he  turned 
round  towards  the  bishop,  and  saw  that  he  had  again  com- 
menced giving  benedictions. 

"  What  can  it  be  ?  "  Julien  asked  himself.  "  No  doubt  it 
is  a  necessary  ecclesiastical  preliminary  for  the  ceremony  which 
is  to  take  place."  When  he  reached  the  cell  in  which  the 
valets  were  congregated,  he  saw  the  mitre  in  their  hands. 
These  gentlemen  succumbed  in  spite  of  themselves  to  his 
imperious  look,  and  gave  him  Monseigneur's  mitre. 

He  felt  proud  to  carry  it.  As  he  crossed  the  hall  he  walked 
slowly.     He  held  it  with  reverence.     He  found  the  bishop 


A  KING  AT  VERRIERES  in 

seated  before  the  glass,  but  from  time  to  time,  his  right  hand, 
although  fatigued,  still  gave  a  blessing.  Julien  helped  him  to 
adjust  his  mitre.     The  bishop  shook  his  head. 

"  Ah !  it  will  keep  on,"  he  said  to  Julien  with  an  air  of 
satisfaction.     "  Do  you  mind  going  a  little  way  off?  " 

Then  the  bishop  went  very  quickly  to  the  centre  of  the 
room,  then  approached  the  mirror,  again  resumed  his  angry 
manner,  and  gravely  began  to  give  blessings. 

Julien  was  motionless  with  astonishment.  He  was  tempted 
to  understand,  but  did  not  dare.  The  bishop  stopped,  and 
suddenly  abandoning  his  grave  manner  looked  at  him  and 
said : 

"  What  do  you  think  of  my  mitre,  monsieur,  is  it  on  right  ?  " 

"  Quite  right,  Monseigneur." 

"  It  is  not  too  far  back  ?  That  would  look  a  little  silly,  but 
I  musn't  on  the  other  hand  wear  it  down  over  the  eyes  like  an 
officer's  shako." 

"  It  seems  to  me  to  be  on  quite  right." 

"The  King  of is  accustomed  to  a  venerable  clergy 

who  are  doubtless  very  solemn.  I  should  not  like  to  appear 
lacking  in  dignity,  especially  by  reason  of  my  youth." 

And  the  bishop  started  again  to  walk  about  and  give 
benedictions. 

"  It  is  quite  clear,"  said  Julien,  daring  to  understand  at  last, 
"  He  is  practising  giving  his  benediction." 

"  I  am  ready,"  the  bishop  said  after  a  few  moments.  "  Go, 
Monsieur,  and  advise  the  senior  and  the  gentlemen  of  the 
chapter." 

Soon  M.  Chelan,  followed  by  the  two  oldest  cures,  entered 
by  a  big  magnificently  sculptured  door,  which  Julien  had  not 
previously  noticed.  But  this  time  he  remained  in  his  place 
quite  at  the  back,  and  was  only  able  to  see  the  bishop  over  the 
shoulders  of  ecclesiastics  who  were  pressing  at  the  door  in  crowds. 

The  bishop  began  slowly  to  traverse  the  hall.  When  he 
reached  the  threshold,  the  cures  formed  themselves  into  a 
procession.  After  a  short  moment  of  confusion,  the  procession 
began  to  march  intoning  the  psalm.  The  bishop,  who  was 
between  M.  Chelan  and  a  very  old  cure,  was  the  last  to 
advance.  Julien  being  in  attendance  on  the  abbe  Chelan 
managed  to  get  quite  near  Monseigneur.  They  followed  the 
long  corridors  of  the  abbey  of  Bray-le-Haut.     In  spite  of  the 


ii2       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

brilliant  sun  they  were  dark  and  damp.  They  arrived  finally 
at  the  portico  of  the  cloister.  Julien  was  dumbfounded  with 
admiration  for  so  fine  a  ceremony.  His  emotions  were  divided 
between  thoughts  of  his  own  ambition  which  had  been  re- 
awakened by  the  bishop's  youth  and  thoughts  of  the  latter's 
refinement  and  exquisite  politeness.  This  politeness  was  quite 
different  to  that  of  M.  de  Renal,  even  on  his  good  days.  "  The 
higher  you  lift  yourself  towards  the  first  rank  of  society,"  said 
Julien  to  himself,  "the  more  charming  manners  you  find." 

They  entered  the  church  by  a  side  door;  suddenly  an  awful 
noise  made  the  ancient  walls  echo.  Julien  thought  they  were 
going  to  crumble.  It  was  the  little  piece  of  artillery  again. 
It  had  been  drawn  at  a  gallop  by  eight  horses  and  had  just 
arrived.  Immediately  on  its  arrival  it  had  been  run  out  by 
the  Leipsic  cannoneers  and  fired  five  shots  a  minute  as  though 
the  Prussians  had  been  the  target. 

But  this  admirable  noise  no  longer  produced  any  effect  on 
Julien.  He  no  longer  thought  of  Napoleon  and  military  glory. 
"  To  be  bishop  of  Agde  so  young,"  he  thought.  "  But  where  is 
Agde  ?  How  much  does  it  bring  in  ?  Two  or  three  hundred 
thousand  francs,  perhaps." 

Monseigneur's  lackeys  appeared  with  a  magnificent  canopy. 
M.  Chelan  took  one  of  the  poles,  but  as  a  matter  of  fact  it 
was  Julien  who  carried  it.  The  bishop  took  his  place  under- 
neath. He  had  really  succeeded  in  looking  old;  and  our 
hero's  admiration  was  now  quite  unbounded.  "What  can't 
one  accomplish  with  skill,"  he  thought. 

The  king  entered.  Julien  had  the  good  fortune  to  see  him 
at  close  quarters.  The  bishop  began  to  harangue  him  with 
unction,  without  forgetting  a  little  nuance  of  very  polite 
anxiety  for  his  Majesty.  We  will  not  repeat  a  description  of 
the  ceremony  of  Bray-le-Haut.  They  filled  all  the  columns  of 
the  journals  of  the  department  for  a  fortnight  on  end.  Julien 
learnt  from  the  bishop  that  the  king  was  descended  from 
Charles  the  Bold. 

At  a  later  date,  it  was  one  of  Julien's  duties  to  check  the 
accounts  of  the  cost  of  this  ceremony.  M.  de  la  Mole,  who 
had  succeeded  in  procuring  a  bishopric  for  his  nephew,  had 
wished  to  do  him  the  favour  of  being  himself  responsible  for 
all  the  expenses.  The  ceremony  alone  of  Bray-le-Haute  cost 
three  thousand  eight  hundred  francs. 


A  KING  AT  VERRIERES  113 

After  the  speech  of  the  bishop,  and  the  answer  of  the  king, 
his  Majesty  took  up  a  position  underneath  the  canopy,  and 
then  knelt  very  devoutly  on  a  cushion  near  the  altar.  The 
choir  was  surrounded  by  stalls,  and  the  stalls  were  raised  two 
steps  from  the  pavement.  It  was  at  the  bottom  of  these  steps 
that  Julien  sat  at  the  feet  of  M.  de  Chelan  almost  like  a 
train-bearer  sitting  next  to  his  cardinal  in  the  Sixtine  chapel 
at  Rome.  There  was  a  Te  Deum,  floods  of  incense,  in- 
numerable volleys  of  musketry  and  artillery ;  the  peasants  were 
drunk  with  happiness  and  piety.  A  day  like  this  undoes  the 
work  of  a  hundred  numbers  of  the  Jacobin  papers. 

Julien  was  six  paces  from  the  king,  who  was  really  praying 
with  devotion.  He  noticed  for  the  first  time  a  little  man  with 
a  witty  expression,  who  wore  an  almost  plain  suit.  But  he 
had  a  sky-blue  ribbon  over  this  very  simple  suit.  He  was 
nearer  the  king  than  many  other  lords,  whose  clothes  were 
embroidered  with  gold  to  such  an  extent  that,  to  use  Julien's 
expression,  it  was  impossible  to  see  the  cloth.  He  learnt  some 
minutes  later  that  it  was  Monsieur  de  la  Mole.  He  thought 
he  looked  haughty,  and  even  insolent. 

"  I'm  sure  this  marquis  is  not  so  polite  as  my  pretty  bishop," 
he  thought.  "  Ah,  the  ecclesiastical  calling  makes  men  mild 
and  good.  But  the  king  has  come  to  venerate  the  relic,  and 
I  don't  see  a  trace  of  the  relic.  Where  has  Saint  Clement 
got  to  ?  " 

A  little  priest  who  sat  next  to  him  informed  him  that  the 
venerable  relic  was  at  the  top  of  the  building  in  a  chapelle 
ardente. 

"What  is  a  chapelle  ardente"  said  Julien  to  himself. 

But  he  was  reluctant  to  ask  the  meaning  of  this  word.  He 
redoubled  his  attention. 

The  etiquette  on  the  occasion  of  a  visit  of  a  sovereign 
prince  is  that  the  canons  do  not  accompany  the  bishop. 
But,  as  he  started  on  his  march  to  the  cliapelle  ardente,  my 
lord  bishop  of  Agde  called  the  abbe  Chelan.  Julien  dared  to 
follow  him.  Having  climbed  up  a  long  staircase,  they  reached 
an  extremely  small  door  whose  Gothic  frame  was  magnificently 
gilded.  This  work  looked  as  though  it  had  been  constructed 
the  day  before. 

Twenty-four  young  girls  belonging  to  the  most  distinguished 
families  in  Verrieres  were  assembled  in  front  of  the  door.    The 

8 


ii4       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

bishop  knelt  down  in  the  midst  of  these  pretty  maidens  before 
he  opened  the  door.  While  he  was  praying  aloud,  they 
seemed  unable  to  exhaust  their  admiration  for  his  fine  lace, 
his  gracious  mien,  and  his  young  and  gentle  face.  This 
spectacle  deprived  our  hero  of  his  last  remnants  of  reason. 
At  this  moment  he  would  have  fought  for  the  Inquisition,  and 
with  a  good  conscience.  The  door  suddenly  opened.  The 
little  chapel  was  blazing  with  light.  More  than  a  thousand 
candles  could  be  seen  before  the  altar,  divided  into  eight  lines 
and  separated  from  each  other  by  bouquets  of  flowers.  The 
suave  odour  of  the  purest  incense  eddied  out  from  the  door  of 
the  sanctuary.  The  chapel,  which  had  been  newly  gilded,  was 
extremely  small  but  very  high.  Julien  noticed  that  there  were 
candles  more  than  fifteen  feet  high  upon  the  altar.  The 
young  girls  could  not  restrain  a  cry  of  admiration.  Only  the 
twenty-four  young  girls,  the  two  cures  and  Julien  had  been 
admitted  into  the  little  vestibule  of  the  chapel.  Soon  the 
king  arrived,  followed  by  Monsieur  de  la  Mole  and  his  great 
Chamberlain.  The  guards  themselves  remained  outside 
kneeling  and  presenting  arms. 

His  Majesty  precipitated,  rather  than  threw  himself,  on  to 
the  stool.  It  was  only  then  that  Julien,  who  was  keeping 
close  to  the  gilded  door,  perceived  over  the  bare  arm  of  a 
young  girl,  the  charming  statue  of  St.  Clement.  It  was 
hidden  under  the  altar,  and  bore  the  dress  of  a  young  Roman 
soldier.  It  had  a  large  wound  on  its  neck,  from  which  the 
blood  seemed  to  flow.  The  artist  had  surpassed  himself. 
The  eyes,  which  though  dying  were  full  of  grace,  were  half 
closed.  A  budding  moustache  adored  that  charming  mouth 
which,  though  half  closed,  seemed  notwithstanding  to  be 
praying.  The  young  girl  next  to  Julien  wept  warm  tears  at 
the  sight.     One  of  her  tears  fell  on  Julien's  hand. 

After  a  moment  of  prayer  in  the  profoundest  silence,  that 
was  only  broken  by  the  distant  sound  of  the  bells  of  all  the 
villages  within  a  radius  of  ten  leagues,  the  bishop  of  Agde 
asked  the  king's  permission  to  speak.  He  finished  a  short 
but  very  touching  speech  with  a  passage,  the  very  simplicity 
of  which  assured  its  effectiveness : 

"  Never  forget,  young  Christian  women,  that  you  have  seen 
one  of  the  greatest  kings  of  the  world  on  his  knees  before  the 
servants  of  this  Almighty  and  terrible  God.     These  servants, 


A  KING  AT  VERRIERES  115 

feeble,  persecuted,  assassinated  as  they  were  on  earth,  as  you 
can  see  by  the  still  bleeding  wounds  of  Saint  Clement,  will 
triumph  in  Heaven.  You  will  remember  them,  my  young 
Christian  women,  will  you  not,  this  day  for  ever,  and  will 
detest  the  infidel.  You  will  be  for  ever  faithful  to  this  God 
who  is  so  great,  so  terrible,  but  so  good  ?  " 

With  these  words  the  bishop  rose  authoritatively. 

"  You  promise  me  ? "  he  said,  lifting  up  his  arm  with  an 
inspired  air. 

"  We  promise,"  said  the  young  girls  melting  into  tears. 

"  I  accept  your  promise  in  the  name  of  the  terrible  God," 
added  the  bishop  in  a  thunderous  voice,  and  the  ceremony 
was  at  an  end. 

The  king  himself  was  crying.  It  was  only  a  long  time 
afterwards  that  Julien  had  sufficient  self-possession  to  enquire 
"  where  were  the  bones  of  the  Saint  that  had  been  sent  from 
Rome  to  Philip  the  Good,  Duke  of  Burgundy  ?  "  He  was 
told  that  they  were  hidden  in  the  charming  waxen  figure. 

His  Majesty  deigned  to  allow  the  young  ladies  who  had 
accompanied  him  into  the  chapel  to  wear  a  red  ribbon  on 
which  were  embroidered  these  words,  "HATE  OF  THE 
INFIDEL.     PERPETUAL  ADORATION." 

Monsieur  de  la  Mole  had  ten  thousand  bottles  of  wine 
distributed  among  the  peasants.  In  the  evening  at  Verrieres, 
the  Liberals  made  a  point  of  having  illuminations  which  were 
a  hundred  times  better  than  those  of  the  Royalists.  Before 
leaving,  the  king  paid  a  visit  to  M.  de  Moirod. 


CHAPTER  XIX 


THINKING    PRODUCES    SUFFERING 

The  grotesqness  of  every-day  events  conceals  the  real 
unhappiness  of  the  passions. — Barnave. 

As  he  was  replacing  the  usual  furniture  in  the  room  which  M. 
de  la  Mole  had  occupied,  Julien  found  a  piece  of  very  strong 
paper  folded  in  four.  He  read  at  the  bottom  of  the  first  page 
"  To  His  Excellency  M.  le  Marquis  de  la  Mole,  peer  of  France, 
Chevalier  of  the  Orders  of  the  King,  etc.  etc."  It  was  a 
petition  in  the  rough  hand-writing  of  a  cook. 

"  Monsieur  le  Marquis,  I  have  had  religious  principles  all  my 
life.  I  was  in  Lyons  exposed  to  the  bombs  at  the  time  of  the 
siege,  in  '93  of  execrable  memory.  I  communicate,  I  go  to 
Mass  every  Sunday  in  the  parochial  church.  I  have  never 
missed  the  paschal  duty,  even  in  '93  of  execrable  memory. 
My  cook  used  to  keep  servants  before  the  revolution,  my 
cook  fasts  on  Fridays.  I  am  universally  respected  in  Verrieres, 
and  I  venture  to  say  I  deserve  to  be  so.  I  walk  under  the 
canopy  in  the  processions  at  the  side  of  the  cure  and  of  the 
mayor.  On  great  occasions  I  carry  a  big  candle,  bought  at 
my  own  expense. 

ask  Monsieur  the  marquis  for  the  lottery  appointment  of 
Verrieres,  which  in  one  way  or  another  is  bound  to  be  vacant 
shortly  as  the  beneficiary  is  very  ill,  and  moreover  votes  on 
the  wrong  side  at  elections,  etc.  "  De  Cholin." 

In  the  margin  of  this  petition  was  a  recommendation  signed 
"  de  Moirod "  which  began  with  this  line,  "  I  have  had  the 
honour,  the  worthy  person  who  makes  this  request " 

"  So  even  that  imbecile  de  Cholin  shows  me  the  way  to  go 
about  things,"  said  Julien  to  himself, 


THINKING  PRODUCES  SUFFERING  117 

Eight  days  after  the  passage  of  the  King  of through 

Verrieres,  the  one  question  which  predominated  over  the 
innumerable  falsehoods,  foolish  conjectures,  and  ridiculous  dis- 
cussions, etc.,  etc.,  which  had  had  successively  for  their  object 
the  king,  the  Marquis  de  la  Mole,  the  ten  thousand  bottles  of 
wine,  the  fall  of  poor  de  Moirod,  who,  hoping  to  win  a  cross, 
only  left  his  room  a  week  after  his  fall,  was  the  absolute  in- 
decency of  having  foisted  Julien  Sorel,  a  carpenter's  son,  into 
the  Guard  of  Honour.  You  should  have  heard  on  this  point 
the  rich  manufacturers  of  printed  calico,  the  very  persons  who 
used  to  bawl  themselves  hoarse  in  preaching  equality,  morning 
and  evening  in  the  cafe.  That  haughty  woman,  Madame  de 
Renal,  was  of  course  responsible  for  this  abomination.  The 
reason  ?  The  fine  eyes  and  fresh  complexion  of  the  little 
abbe  Sorel  explained  everything  else. 

A  short  time  after  their  return  to  Vergy,  Stanislas,  the 
youngest  of  the  children,  caught  the  fever;  Madame  de 
Renal  was  suddenly  attacked  by  an  awful  remorse.  For  the 
first  time  she  reproached  herself  for  her  love  with  some  logic. 
She  seemed  to  understand  as  though  by  a  miracle  the  enormity 
of  the  sin  into  which  she  had  let  herself  be  swept.  Up  to 
that  moment,  although  deeply  religious,  she  had  never  thought 
of  the  greatness  of  her  crime  in  the  eyes  of  God. 

In  former  times  she  had  loved  God  passionately  in  the 
Convent  of  the  Sacred  Heart;  in  the  present  circumstances, 
she  feared  him  with  equal  intensity.  The  struggles  which 
lacerated  her  soul  were  all  the  more  awful  in  that  her  fear 
was  quite  irrational.  Julien  found  that  the  least  argument 
irritated  instead  of  soothing  her.  She  saw  in  the  illness  the 
language  of  hell.  Moreover,  Julien  was  himself  very  fond  of 
the  little  Stanislas. 

It  soon  assumed  a  serious  character.  Then  incessant  re- 
morse deprived  Madame  de  Renal  of  even  her  power  of  sleep. 
She  ensconced  herself  in  a  gloomy  silence  :  if  she  had  opened 
her  mouth,  it  would  only  have  been  to  confess  her  crime  to 
God  and  mankind. 

"  I  urge  you,"  said  Julien  to  her,  as  soon  as  they  got  alone, 
"  not  to  speak  to  anyone.  Let  me  be  the  sole  confidant  of 
your  sufferings.  If  you  still  love  me,  do  not  speak.  Your 
words  will  not  be  able  to  take  away  our  Stanislas'  fever."  But 
his  consolations  produced  no  effect.     He  did  not  know  that 


n8  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Madame  de  Renal  had  got  it  into  her  head  that,  in  order  to 
appease  the  wrath  of  a  jealous  God,  it  was  necessary  either  to 
hate  Julien,  or  let  her  son  die.  It  was  because  she  felt  she 
could  not  hate  her  lover  that  she  was  so  unhappy. 

"  Fly  from  me,"  she  said  one  day  to  Julien.  "  In  the  name 
of  God  leave  this  house.  It  is  your  presence  here  which  kills 
my  son.  God  punishes  me,"  she  added  in  a  low  voice.  "  He 
is  just.  I  admire  his  fairness.  My  crime  is  awful,  and  I 
was  living  without  remorse,"  she  exclaimed.  "That  was 
the  first  sign  of  my  desertion  of  God :  I  ought  to  be  doubly 
punished." 

Julien  was  profoundly  touched.  He  could  see  in  this 
neither  hypocrisy  nor  exaggeration.  "  She  thinks  that  she 
is  killing  her  son  by  loving  me,  and  all  the  same  the  unhappy 
woman  loves  me  more  than  her  son.  I  cannot  doubt  it. 
It  is  remorse  for  that  which  is  killing  her.  Those  sentiments 
of  hers  have  real  greatness.  But  how  could  I  have  inspired 
such  a  love,  I  who  am  so  poor,  so  badly-educated,  so  ignorant, 
and  sometimes  so  coarse  in  my  manners  ?  " 

One  night  the  child  was  extremely  ill.  At  about  two 
o'clock  in  the  morning,  M.  de  Renal  came  to  see  it.  The  child 
consumed  by  fever,  and  extremely  flushed,  could  not  recognise 
its  father.  Suddenly  Madame  de  Renal  threw  herself  at  her 
husband's  feet;  Julien  saw  that  she  was  going  to  confess 
everything  and  ruin  herself  for  ever. 

Fortunately  this  extraordinary  proceeding  annoyed  M.  de 
Renal. 

"  Adieu  !     Adieu  !  "  he  said,  going  away. 

"  No,  listen  to  me,"  cried  his  wife  on  her  knees  before  him, 
trying  to  hold  him  back.  "  Hear  the  whole  truth.  It  is  I 
who  am  killing  my  son.  I  gave  him  life,  and  I  am  taking  it 
back.  Heaven  is  punishing  me.  In  the  eyes  of  God  I  am 
guilty  of  murder.  It  is  necessary  that  I  should  ruin  and 
humiliate  myself.  Perhaps  that  sacrifice  will  appease  the 
the  Lord." 

If  M.  de  Renal  had  been  a  man  of  any  imagination,  he 
would  then  have  realized  everything. 

"  Romantic  nonsense,"  he  cried,  moving  his  wife  away  as 
she  tried  to  embrace  his  knees.  "  All  that  is  romantic 
nonsense !  Julien,  go  and  fetch  the  doctor  at  daybreak," 
and  he   went  back  to   bed.     Madame  de  Renal  fell  on  her 


THINKING  PRODUCES  SUFFERING  119 

knees   half-fainting,  repelling  Julien's   help   with  a   hysterical 
gesture. 

Julien  was  astonished. 

"  So  this  is  what  adultery  is,"  he  said  to  himself.  "  Is  it 
possible  that  those  scoundrels  of  priests  should  be  right,  that 
they  who  commit  so  many  sins  themselves  should  have  the 
privilege  of  knowing  the  true  theory  of  sin  ?     How  droll  !  " 

For  twenty  minutes  after  M.  de  Renal  had  gone  back  to 
bed,  Julien  saw  the  woman  he  loved  with  her  head  resting  on 
her  son's  little  bed,  motionless,  and  almost  unconscious. 
"  There,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  is  a  woman  of  superior 
temperament  brought  to  the  depths  of  unhappiness  simply 
because  she  has  known  me." 

"  Time  moves  quickly.  What  can  I  do  for  her  ?  I  must 
make  up  my  mind.  I  have  not  got  simply  myself  to  consider 
now.  What  do  I  care  for  men  and  their  buffooneries  ?  What 
can  I  do  for  her  ?  Leave  her  ?  But  I  should  be  leaving  her 
alone  and  a  prey  to  the  most  awful  grief.  That  automaton  of 
a  husband  is  more  harm  to  her  than  good.  He  is  so  coarse 
that  he  is  bound  to  speak  harshly  to  her.  She  may  go  mad 
and  throw  herself  out  of  the  window." 

"  If  I  leave  her,  if  I  cease  to  watch  over  her,  she  will  confess 
everything,  and  who  knows,  in  spite  of  the  legacy  which  she 
is  bound  to  bring  him,  he  will  create  a  scandal.  She  may 
confess  everything  (great  God)  to  that  scoundrel  of  an  abbe 
who  makes  the  illness  of  a  child  of  six  an  excuse  for  not 
budging  from  this  house,  and  not  without  a  purpose  either. 
In  her  grief  and  her  fear  of  God,  she  forgets  all  she  knows 
of  the  man  ;  she  only  sees  the  priest." 

"Go  away,"  said  Madame  de  Renal  suddenly  to  him, 
opening  her  eyes. 

"  I  would  give  my  life  a  thousand  times  to  know  what 
could  be  of  most  use  to  you,"  answered  Julien.  "  I  have 
never  loved  you  so  much,  my  dear  angel,  or  rather  it  is  only 
from  this  last  moment  that  I  begin  to  adore  you  as  you 
deserve  to  be  adored.  What  would  become  of  me  far  from 
you,  and  with  the  consciousness  that  you  are  unhappy  owing 
to  what  I  have  done  ?  But  don't  let  my  suffering  come  into 
the  matter.  I  will  go — yes,  my  love  !  But  if  I  leave  you, 
dear ;  if  I  cease  to  watch  over  you,  to  be  incessantly  between 
you  and  your  husband,  you    will  tell   him  everything.     You 


i2o       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

will  ruin  yourself.  Remember  that  he  will  hound  you  out  of  his 
house  in  disgrace.  Besancon  will  talk  of  the  scandal.  You 
will  be  said  to  be  absolutely  in  the  wrong.  You  will  never 
lift  up  your  head  again  after  that  shame." 

"  That's  what  I  ask,"  she  cried,  standing  up.  "  I  shall 
suffer,  so  much  the  better." 

"  But  you  will  also  make  him  unhappy  through  that  awful 
scandal." 

"  But  I  shall  be  humiliating  myself,  throwing  myself  into 
the  mire,  and  by  those  means,  perhaps,  I  shall  save  my  son. 
Such  a  humiliation  in  the  eyes  of  all  is  perhaps  to  be  regarded 
as  a  public  penitence.  So  far  as  my  weak  judgment  goes,  is 
it  not  the  greatest  sacrifice  that  I  can  make  to  God  ? — perhaps 
He  will  deign  to  accept  my  humiliation,  and  to  leave  me  my 
son.  Show  me  another  sacrifice  which  is  more  painful  and  I 
will  rush  to  it." 

"  Let  me  punish  myself.  I  too  am  guilty.  Do  you  wish 
me  to  retire  to  the  Trappist  Monastery  ?  The  austerity  of  that 
life  may  appease  your  God.  Oh,  heaven,  why  cannot  I  take 
Stanislas's  illness  upon  myself?  " 

"  Ah,  do  you  love  him  then,"  said  Madame  de  Renal,  getting 
up  and  throwing  herself  in  his  arms. 

At  the  same  time  she  repelled  him  with  horror. 

"  I  believe  you  !  I  believe  you  !  Oh,  my  one  friend,"  she 
cried  falling  on  her  knees  again.  "  Why  are  you  not  the 
father  of  Stanislas  ?  In  that  case  it  would  not  be  a  terrible  sin 
to  love  you  more  than  your  son." 

"  Won't  you  allow  me  to  stay  and  love  you  henceforth  like  a 
brother  ?  It  is  the  only  rational  atonement.  It  may  appease 
the  wrath  of  the  Most  High." 

"  Am  I,"  she  cried,  getting  up  and  taking  Julien's  head 
between  her  two  hands,  and  holding  it  some  distance  from  her. 
"  Am  I  to  love  you  as  if  you  were  a  brother  ?  Is  it  in  my 
power  to  love  you  like  that  ?  "     Julien  melted  into  tears. 

"  I  will  obey  you,"  he  said,  falling  at  her  feet.  I  will  obey 
you  in  whatever  you  order  me.  That  is  all  there  is  left  for 
me  to  do.  My  mind  is  struck  with  blindness.  I  do  not  see 
any  course  to  take.  If  I  leave  you  you  will  tell  your  husband 
everything.  You  will  ruin  yourself  and  him  as  well.  He  will 
never  be  nominated  deputy  after  incurring  such  ridicule.  If  I 
stay,  you  will  think  I  am  the  cause  of  your  son's  death,  and 


THINKING  PRODUCES  SUFFERING  121 

you  will  die  of  grief.  Do  you  wish  to  try  the  effect  of  my 
departure.  If  you  wish,  I  will  punish  myself  for  our  sin  by 
leaving  you  for  eight  days.  I  will  pass  them  in  any  retreat 
you  like.  In  the  abbey  of  Bray-le-Haut,  for  instance.  But 
swear  that  you  will  say  nothing  to  your  husband  during  my 
absence.  Remember  that  if  you  speak  I  shall  never  be  able 
to  come  back." 

She  promised  and  he  left,  but  was  called  back  at  the  end  of 
two  days. 

"  It  is  impossible  for  me  to  keep  my  oath  without  you.  I 
shall  speak  to  my  husband  if  you  are  not  constantly  there  to 
enjoin  me  to  silence  by  your  looks.  Every  hour  of  this 
abominable  life  seems  to  last  a  day." 

Finally  heaven  had  pity  on  this  unfortunate  mother.  Little 
by  little  Stanislas  got  out  of  danger.  But  the  ice  was  broken. 
Her  reason  had  realised  the  extent  of  her  sin.  She  could  not 
recover  her  equilibrium  again.  Her  pangs  of  remorse  re- 
mained, and  were  what  they  ought  to  have  been  in  so  sincere 
a  heart.  Her  life  was  heaven  and  hell :  hell  when  she  did 
not  see  Julien ;  heaven  when  she  was  at  his  feet. 

"  I  do  not  deceive  myself  any  more,"  she  would  say  to  him, 
even  during  the  moments  when  she  dared  to  surrender  herself 
to  his  full  love.  "  I  am  damned,  irrevocably  damned.  You 
are  young,  heaven  may  forgive  you,  but  I,  I  am  damned. 
I  know  it  by  a  certain  sign.  I  am  afraid,  who  would  not  be 
afraid  at  the  sight  of  hell  ?  but  at  the  bottom  of  my  heart  I 
do  not  repent  at  all.  I  would  commit  my  sin  over  again  if  I 
had  the  opportunity.  If  heaven  will  only  forbear  to  punish 
me  in  this  world  and  through  my  children,  I  shall  have  more 
than  I  deserve.  But  you,  at  any  rate,  my  Julien,"  she  would 
cry  at  other  moments,  "are  you  happy?  Do  you  think  I  love 
you  enough  ?  " 

The  suspiciousness  and  morbid  pride  of  Julien,  who  needed, 
above  all,  a  self-sacrificing  love,  altogether  vanished  when  he 
saw  at  every  hour  of  the  day  so  great  and  indisputable  a 
sacrifice.  He  adored  Madame  de  Renal.  "  It  makes  no 
difference  her  being  noble,  and  my  being  a  labourer's  son. 
She  loves  me  ....  she  does  not  regard  me  as  a  valet  charged 
with  the  functions  of  a  lovei."  That  fear  once  dismissed, 
Julien  fell  into  all  the  madness  of  love,  into  all  its  deadly 
uncertainties. 


122       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"  At  any  rate,"  she  would  cry,  seeing  his  doubts  of  her  love, 
"  let  me  feel  quite  happy  during  the  three  days  we  still  have 
together.  Let  us  make  haste ;  perhaps  to-morrow  will  be  too 
late.  If  heaven  strikes  me  through  my  children,  it  will  be  in 
vain  that  I  shall  try  only  to  live  to  love  you,  and  to  be  blind 
to  the  fact  that  it  is  my  crime  which  has  killed  them.  I  could 
not  survive  that  blow.  Even  if  I  wished  I  could  not ;  I  should 
go  mad." 

"Ah,  if  only  I  could  take  your  sin  on  myself  as  you  so 
generously  offered  to  take  Stanislas'  burning  fever  !  " 

This  great  moral  crisis  changed  the  character  of  the  senti- 
ment which  united  Julien  and  his  mistress.  His  love  was  no 
longer  simply  admiration  for  her  beauty,  and  the  pride  of 
possessing  her. 

Henceforth  their  happiness  was  of  a  quite  superior  character. 
The  flame  which  consumed  them  was  more  intense.  They 
had  transports  filled  with  madness.  Judged  by  the  worldly 
standard  their  happiness  would  have  appeared  intensified. 
But  they  no  longer  found  that  delicious  serenity,  that  cloudless 
happiness,  that  facile  joy  of  the  first  period  of  their  love,  when 
Madame  de  Renal's  only  fear  was  that  Julien  did  not  love  her 
enough.  Their  happiness  had  at  times  the  complexion  of 
crime. 

In  their  happiest  and  apparently  their  most  tranquil 
moments,  Madame  de  Renal  would  suddenly  cry  out,  "  Oh, 
great  God,  I  see  hell,"  as  she  pressed  Julien's  hand  with  a 
convulsive  grasp.  "  What  horrible  tortures  !  I  have  well 
deserved  them."  She  grasped  him  and  hung  on  to  him  like 
ivy  onto  a  wall. 

Julien  would  try  in  vain  to  calm  that  agitated  soul.  She 
would  take  his  hand,  cover  it  with  kisses.  Then,  relapsing 
into  a  gloomy  reverie,  she  would  say,  "  Hell  itself  would  be  a 
blessing  for  me.  I  should  still  have  some  days  to  pass  with 
him  on  this  earth,  but  hell  on  earth,  the  death  of  my  children. 
Still,  perhaps  my  crime  will  be  forgiven  me  at  that  price.  Oh, 
great  God,  do  not  grant  me  my  pardon  at  so  great  a  price. 
These  poor  children  have  in  no  way  transgressed  against  You. 
I,  I  am  the  only  culprit.  I  love  a  man  who  is  not  my 
husband." 

Julien  subsequently  saw  Madame  de  Renal  attain  what  were 
apparently  moments  of  tranquillity.      She  was  endeavouring 


THINKING  PRODUCES  SUFFERING  123 

to  control  herself;  she  did  not  wish  to  poison  the  life  of  the 
man  she  loved.  They  found  the  days  pass  with  the  rapidity 
of  lightning  amid  these  alternating  moods  of  love,  remorse, 
and  voluptuousness.     Julien  lost  the  habit  of  reflecting. 

Mademoiselle  Elisa  went  to  attend  to  a  little  lawsuit  which 
she  had  at  Verrieres.  She  found  Valenod  very  piqued  against 
Julien.  She  hated  the  tutor  and  would  often  speak  about 
him. 

"  You  will  ruin  me,  Monsieur,  if  I  tell  the  truth,"  she  said 
one  day  to  Valenod.  "All  masters  have  an  understanding 
amongst  themselves  with  regard  to  matters  of  importance.  There 
are  certain  disclosures  which  poor  servants  are  never  forgiven." 

After  these  stereotyped  phrases,  which  his  curiosity 
managed  to  cut  short,  Monsieur  Valenod  received  some  in- 
formation extremely  mortifying  to  his  self-conceit. 

This  woman,  who  was  the  most  distinguished  in  the  district, 
the  woman  on  whom  he  had  lavished  so  much  attention  in 
the  last  six  years,  and  made  no  secret  of  it,  more  was  the  pity, 
this  woman  who  was  so  proud,  whose  disdain  had  put  him  to 
the  blush  times  without  number,  had  just  taken  for  her  lover 
a  little  workman  masquerading  as  a  tutor.  And  to  fill  the 
cup  of  his  jealousy,  Madame  de  Renal  adored  that  lover. 

"  And,"  added  the  housemaid  with  a  sigh,  "  Julien  did  not 
put  himself  out  at  all  to  make  his  conquest,  his  manner  was 
as  cold  as  ever,  even  with  Madame." 

Elisa  had  only  become  certain  in  the  country,  but  she 
believed  that  this  intrigue  dated  from  much  further  back. 
"That  is  no  doubt  the  reason,"  she  added  spitefully,  "why  he 
refused  to  marry  me.  And  to  think  what  a  fool  I  was  when  I 
went  to  consult  Madame  de  Renal  and  begged  her  to  speak 
to  the  tutor." 

The  very  same  evening,  M.  de  Renal  received  from  the 
town,  together  with  his  paper,  a  long  anonymous  letter  which 
apprised  him  in  the  greatest  detail  of  what  was  taking  place 
in  his  house.  Julien  saw  him  pale  as  he  read  this  letter 
written  on  blue  paper,  and  look  at  him  with  a  malicious  ex- 
pression. During  all  that  evening  the  mayor  failed  to  throw 
off  his  trouble.  It  was  in  vain  that  Julien  paid  him  court  by 
asking  for  explanations  about  the  genealogy  of  the  best 
families  in  Burgundy. 


CHAPTER  XX 


ANONYMOUS    LETTERS 


Do  not  give  dalli  ance 

Too  much  the  rein  ;  the  strongest  oaths  are  straw 

To  the  fire  i'  the  blood.  —  Tempest. 

As  they  left  the  drawing-room  about  midnight,  Julien  had  time 
to  say  to  his  love, 

"  Don't  let  us  see  each  other  to-night.  Your  husband  has 
suspicions.  I  would  swear  that  that  big  letter  he  read  with  a 
sigh  was  an  anonymous  letter." 

Fortunately,  Julien  locked  himself  into  his  room.  Madame 
de  Renal  had  the  mad  idea  that  this  warning  was  only  a  pre- 
text for  not  seeing  her.  She  absolutely  lost  her  head,  and 
came  to  his  door  at  the  accustomed  hour.  Julien,  who  had 
heard  the  noise  in  the  corridor,  immediately  blew  out  his 
lamp.  Someone  was  trying  to  open  the  door.  Was  it 
Madame  de  Renal  ?     Was  it  a  jealous  husband  ? 

Very  early  next  morning  the  cook,  who  liked  Julien,  brought 
him  a  book,  on  the  cover  of  which  he  read  these  words  written 
in  Italian  :   Guardate  alia  pagina  130. 

Julien  shuddered  at  the  imprudence,  looked  for  page  130, 
and  found  pinned  to  it  the  following  letter  hastily  written, 
bathed  with  tears,  and  full  of  spelling  mistakes.  Madame 
de  Renal  was  usually  very  correct.  He  was  touched  by  this 
circumstance,  and  somewhat  forgot  the  awfulness  of  the 
indiscretion. 

"  So  you  did  not  want  to  receive  me  to-night  ?  There  are 
moments  when  I  think  that  I  have  never  read  down  to  the 
depths  of  your  soul.  Your  looks  frighten  me.  I  am  afraid  of 
you.      Great  God !   perhaps  you  have  never  loved  me  ?     In 


ANNONYMOUS  LETTERS  125 

that  case  let  my  husband  discover  my  love,  and  shut  me  up 
in  a  prison  in  the  country  far  away  from  my  children.  Perhaps 
God  wills  it  so.  I  shall  die  soon,  but  you  will  have  proved 
yourself  a  monster. 

"  Do  you  not  love  me  ?  Are  you  tired  of  my  fits  of  folly 
and  of  remorse,  you  wicked  man  ?  Do  you  wish  to  ruin  me  ? 
I  will  show  you  an  easy  way.  Go  and  show  this  letter  to  all 
Verrieres,  or  rather  show  it  to  M.  Valenod.  Tell  him  that  I 
love  you,  nay,  do  not  utter  such  a  blasphemy,  tell  him  I  adore 
you,  that  it  was  only  on  the  day  I  saw  you  that  my  life 
commenced;  that  even  in  the  maddest  moments  of  my  youth 
I  never  even  dreamt  of  the  happiness  that  I  owe  to  you,  that 
I  have  sacrificed  my  life  to  you  and  that  I  am  sacrificing  my 
soul.  You  know  that  I  am  sacrificing  much  more.  But  does 
that  man  know  the  meaning  of  sacrifice?  Tell  him,  I  say, 
simply  to  irritate  him,  that  1  will  defy  all  evil  tongues,  that  the 
only  misfortune  for  me  in  the  whole  world  would  be  to  witness 
any  change  in  the  only  man  who  holds  me  to  life.  What  a 
happiness  it  would  be  to  me  to  lose  my  life,  to  offer  it 
up  as  a  sacrifice  and  to  have  no  longer  any  fear  for  my 
children. 

"  Have  no  doubt  about  it,  dear  one,  if  it  is  an  anonymous 
letter,  it  comes  from  that  odious  being  who  has  persecuted  me 
for  the  last  six  years  with  his  loud  voice,  his  stories  about  his 
jumps  on  horseback,  his  fatuity,  and  the  never  ending  catalogue 
of  all  his  advantages. 

"  Is  there  an  anonymous  letter  ?  I  should  like  to  discuss 
that  question  with  you,  you  wicked  man;  but  no,  you  acted 
rightly.  Clasping  you  in  my  arms  perhaps  for  the  last  time, 
I  should  never  have  been  able  to  argue  as  coldly  as  I  do, 
now  that  I  am  alone.  From  this  moment  our  happiness 
will  no  longer  be  so  easy.  Will  that  be  a  vexation  for  you  ? 
Yes,  on  those  days  when  you  haven't  received  some  amusing 
book  from  M.  Fouque.  The  sacrifice  is  made;  to-morrow, 
whether  there  is  or  whether  there  is  not  any  anonymous  letter, 
I  myself  will  tell  my  husband  I  have  received  an  anonymous 
letter  and  that  it  is  necessary  to  give  you  a  golden  bridge  at 
once,  find  some  honourable  excuse,  and  send  you  back  to 
your  parents  without  delay. 

"  Alas,  dear  one,  we  are  going  to  be  separated  for  a  fortnight, 
perhaps  a  month  !     Go,  I  will  do  you  justice,  you  will  suffer 


126       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

as  much  as  I,  but  anyway,  this  is  the  only  means  of  disposing 
of  this  anonymous  letter.  It  is  not  the  first  that  my  husband 
has  received,  and  on  my  score  too.  Alas  !  how  I  used  to 
laugh  over  them  ! 

"  My  one  aim  is  to  make  my  husband  think  that  the 
letter  comes  from  M.  Valenod ;  I  have  no  doubt  that  he  is  its 
author.  If  you  leave  the  house,  make  a  point  of  establishing 
yourself  at  Verrieres ;  I  will  manage  that  my  husband  should 
think  of  passing  a  fortnight  there  in  order  to  prove  to  the 
fools  there  was  no  coldness  between  him  and  me.  Once  at 
Verrieres,  establish  ties  of  friendship  with  everyone,  even  with 
the  Liberals.  I  am  sure  that  all  their  ladies  will  seek  you 
out. 

"  Do  not  quarrel  with  M.  Valenod,  or  cut  off  his  ears,  as  you 
said  you  would  one  day.  Try,  on  the  contrary,  to  ingratiate 
yourself  with  him.  The  essential  point  is  that  it  should  be 
notorious  in  Verrieres  that  you  are  going  to  enter  the  house 
hold  either  of  Valenod  or  of  someone  else  to  take  charge  of 
the  children's  education. 

"  That  is  what  my  husband  will  never  put  up  with.  If  he 
does  feel  bound  to  resign  himself  to  it,  well,  at  any  rate,  you 
will  be  living  in  Verrieres  and  I  shall  be  seeing  you  sometimes. 
My  children,  who  love  you  so  much,  will  go  and  see  you. 
Great  God  !  I  feel  that  I  love  my  children  all  the  more 
because  they  love  you.  How  is  all  this  going  to  end  ?  I  am 
wandering  .  .  .  Anyway  you  understand  your  line  of  conduct. 
Be  nice,  polite,  but  not  in  any  way  disdainful  to  those 
coarse  persons.  I  ask  you  on  my  lyiees;  they  will  be  the 
arbiters  of  our  fate.  Do  not  fear  for  a  moment  but  that,  so 
far  as  you  are  concerned,  my  husband  will  conform  to  what 
public  opinion  lays  down  for  him. 

"  It  is  you  who  will  supply  me  with  the  anonymous  letter. 
Equip  yourself  with  patience  and  a  pair  of  scissors,  cut  out 
from  a  book  the  words  which  you  will  see,  then  stick  them 
with  the  mouth-glue  on  to  the  leaf  of  loose  paper  which  I  am 
sending  you.  It  comes  to  me  from  M.  Valenod.  Be  on  your 
guard  against  a  search  in  your  room ;  burn  the  pages  of  the 
book  which  you  are  going  to  mutilate.  If  you  do  not  find 
the  words  ready-made,  have  the  patience  to  form  them  letter 
by  letter.     I  have  made  the  anonymous  letter  too  short. 


ANNONYMOUS  LETTERS  127 

Annonymous  Letter. 
'  Madame, 

All  your  little  goings-on  are  known,  but  the  persons 
interested  in  stopping  have  been  warned.  I  have  still  sufficient 
friendship  left  for  you  to  urge  you  to  cease  all  relations  with  the 
little  peasant.  If  you  are  sensible  enough  to  do  this,  your  husband 
will  believe  that  the  notification  he  has  received  is  misleading,  and 
he  will  be  left  in  his  illusion.  Remember  that  I  have  your  secret ; 
tremble,  unhappy  woman,  you  must  now  walk  straight  before  me.' 

"  As  soon  as  you  have  finished  glueing  together  the  words 
that  make  up  this  letter  (have  you  recognised  the  director's 
special   style  of  speech)  leave  the  house,  I    will   meet  you. 

"  I  will  go  into  the  village  and  come  back  with  a  troubled 
face.  As  a  matter  of  fact  I  shall  be  very  much  troubled. 
Great  God !  What  a  risk  I  run,  and  all  because  you  thought 
you  guessed  an  anonymous  letter.  Finally,  looking  very  much 
upset,  I  shall  give  this  letter  to  my  husband  and  say  that  an 
unknown  man  handed  it  to  me.  As  for  you,  go  for  a  walk 
with  the  children,  on  the  road  to  the  great  woods,  and  do  not 
come  back  before  dinner-time. 

"  You  will  be  able  to  see  the  tower  of  the  dovecot  from  the 
top  of  the  rocks.  If  things  go  well  for  us,  I  will  place  a  white 
handkerchief  there,  in  case  of  the  contrary,  there  will  be 
nothing  at  all. 

"  Ungrateful  man,  will  not  your  heart  find  out  some  means 
of  telling  me  that  you  love  me  before  you  leave  for  that  walk. 
Whatever  happens,  be  certain  of  one  thing :  I  shall  never 
survive  our  final  separation  by  a  single  day.  Oh,  you  bad 
mother !  but  what  is  the  use  of  my  writing  those  two  words, 
dear  Julien  ?  I  do  not  feel  them,  at  this  moment  I  can  only 
think  of  you.  I  have  only  written  them  so  as  not  to  be 
blamed  by  you,  but  what  is  the  good  of  deception  now  that  I 
find  myself  face  to  face  with  losing  you?  Yes,  let  my  soul 
seem  monstrous  to  you,  but  do  not  let  me  lie  to  the  man  whom 
I  adore.  I  have  already  deceived  only  too  much  in  this  life 
of  mine.  Go  !  I  forgive  you  if  you  love  me  no  more.  I 
have  not  the  time  to  read  over  my  letter.  It  is  a  small  thing 
in  my  eyes  to  pay  for  the  happy  days  that  I  have  just  passed 
in  your  arms  with  the  price  of  my  life.  You  know  that  they 
will  cost  me  more." 


CHAPTER  XXI 


DIALOGUE   WITH    A    MASTER 


Alas,  our  frailty  is  the  cause,  not  we  ; 

For  such  as  we  are  made  of,  such  we  be. — Twelfth  Night. 

It  was  with  a  childish  pleasure  that  for  a  whole  hour  Julien 
put  the  words  together.  As  he  came  out  of  his  room,  he  met 
his  pupils  with  their  mother.  She  took  the  letter  with  a 
simplicity  and  a  courage  whose  calmness  terrified  him. 

"  Is  the  mouth-glue  dry  enough  yet  ?  "  she  asked  him. 

"And  is  this  the  woman  who  was  so  maddened  by  remorse  ?  " 
he  thought.  "What  are  her  plans  at  this  moment?"  He 
was  too  proud  to  ask  her,  but  she  had  never  perhaps  pleased 
him  more. 

"  If  this  turns  out  badly,"  she  added  with  the  same  coolness, 
"  I  shall  be  deprived  of  everything.  Take  charge  of  this,  and 
bury  it  in  some  place  of  the  mountain.  It  will  perhaps  one 
day  be  my  only  resource." 

She  gave  him  a  glass  case  in  red  morocco  filled  with 
gold  and  some  diamonds. 

"  Now  go,"  she  said  to  him. 

She  kissed  the  children,  embracing  the  youngest  twice. 
Julien  remained  motionless.  She  left  him  at  a  rapid  pace 
without  looking  at  him. 

From  the  moment  that  M.  de  Renal  had  opened  the  anony- 
mous letter  his  life  had  been  awful.  He  had  not  been  so  agitated 
since  a  duel  which  he  had  just  missed  having  in  1816,  and 
to  do  him  justice,  the  prospect  of  receiving  a  bullet  would 
have  made  him  less  unhappy.  He  scrutinised  the  letter  from 
every  standpoint.  "  Is  that  not  a  woman's  handwriting?"  he 
said  to  himself.  In  that  case,  what  woman  had  written  it? 
He  reviewed  all   those  whom  he  knew  at  Verrieres  without 


DIALOGUE  WITH  A  MASTER  129 

being  able  to  fix  his  suspicions  on  any  one.  Could  a  man 
have  dictated  that  letter  ?  Who  was  that  man  ?  Equal 
uncertainty  on  this  point.  The  majority  of  his  acquaintances 
were  jealous  of  him,  and,  no  doubt,  hated  him.  "  I  must 
consult  my  wife,"  he  said  to  himself  through  habit,  as  he  got 
up  from  the  arm-chair  in  which  he  had  collapsed. 

"  Great  God  ! "  he  said  aloud  before  he  got  up,  striking  his 
head,  "it  is  she  above  all  of  whom  I  must  be  distrustful. 
At  the  present  moment  she  is  my  enemy,"  and  tears  came 
into  his  eyes  through  sheer  anger. 

By  a  poetic  justice  for  that  hardness  of  heart  which 
constitutes  the  provincial  idea  of  shrewdness,  the  two  men 
whom  M.  de  Renal  feared  the  most  at  the  present  moment 
were  his  two  most  intimate  friends. 

"  I  have  ten  friends  perhaps  after  those,"  and  he  passed 
them  in  review,  gauging  the  degree  of  consolation  which  he 
could  get  from  each  one.  "  All  of  them,  all  of  them,"  he 
exclaimed  in  a  rage,  "  will  derive  the  most  supreme  pleasure 
from  my  awful  experience." 

As  luck  would  have  it,  he  thought  himself  envied,  and  not 
without   reason.      Apart   from    his   superb  town  mansion  in 

which  the  king  of had  recently  spent  the  night,  and  thus 

conferred  on  it  an  enduring  honour,  he  had  decorated  his 
chateau  at  Vergy  extremely  well.  The  facade  was  painted 
white  and  the  windows  adorned  with  fine  green  shutters.  He 
was  consoled  for  a  moment  by  the  thought  of  this  magnificence. 
The  fact  was  that  this  chateau  was  seen  from  three  or  four 
leagues  off,  to  the  great  prejudice  of  all  the  country  houses  or 
so-called  chateaux  of  the  neighbourhood,  which  had  been  left 
in  the  humble  grey  colour  given  them  by  time. 

There  was  one  of  his  friends  on  whose  pity  and  whose 
tears  M.  de  Renal  could  count,  the  churchwarden  of  the 
parish ;  but  he  was  an  idiot  who  cried  at  everything. 
This  man,  however,  was  his  only  resource.  "  What 
unhappiness  is  comparable  to  mine,"  he  exclaimed  with  rage. 
"  What  isolation  ! " 

"  Is  it  possible  ? "  said  this  truly  pitiable  man  to  himself. 
"  Is  it  possible  that  I  have  no  friend  in  my  misfortune  of 
whom  I  can  ask  advice  ?  for  my  mind  is  wandering,  I  feel  it. 
"  Oh,  Falcoz !  oh,  Ducros ! "  he  exclaimed  with  bitterness. 
Those  were  the  names  of  two  friends  of  his  childhood  whom 


i3o       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

he  had  dropped  owing  to  his  snobbery  in  1814.  They  were 
not  noble,  and  he  had  wished  to  change  the  footing  of  equality 
on  which  they  had  been  living  with  him  since  their  childhood. 

One  of  them,  Falcoz,  a  paper-merchant  of  Verrieres,  and  a 
man  of  intellect  and  spirit,  had  bought  a  printing  press  in  the 
chief  town  of  the  department  and  undertaken  the  production 
of  a  journal.  The  priestly  congregation  had  resolved  to  ruin 
him ;  his  journal  had  been  condemned,  and  he  had  been 
deprived  of  his  printer's  diploma.  In  these  sad  circumstances 
he  ventured  to  write  to  M.  de  Renal  for  the  first  time  for  ten 
years.  The  mayor  of  Verrieres  thought  it  his  duty  to  answer 
in  the  old  Roman  style :  "  If  the  King's  Minister  were  to  do 
me  the  honour  of  consulting  me,  I  should  say  to  him,  ruin 
ruthlessly  all  the  provincial  printers,  and  make  printing  a 
monopoly  like  tobacco."  M.  de  Renal  was  horrified  to 
remember  the  terms  of  this  letter  to  an  intimate  friend  whom 
all  Verrieres  had  once  admired,  "  Who  would  have  said  that 
I,  with  my  rank,  my  fortune,  my  decorations,  would  ever 
come  to  regret  it  ? "  It  was  in  these  transports  of  rage, 
directed  now  against  himself,  now  against  all  his  surroundings, 
that  he  passed  an  awful  night ;  but,  fortunately,  it  never 
occurred  to  him  to  spy  on  his  wife. 

"  I  am  accustomed  to  Louise,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  she 
knows  all  my  affairs.  If  I  were  free  to  marry  to-morrow,  I 
should  not  find  anyone  to  take  her  place."  Then  he  began 
to  plume  himself  on  the  idea  that  his  wife  was  innocent. 
This  point  of  view  did  not  require  any  manifestation  of 
character,  and  suited  him  much  better.  "  How  many 
calumniated  women  has  one  not  seen  ?  " 

"  But,"  he  suddenly  exclaimed,  as  he  walked  about 
feverishly,  "  shall  I  put  up  with  her  making  a  fool  of  me  with 
her  lover  as  though  I  were  a  man  of  no  account,  some  mere 
ragamuffin  ?  Is  all  Verrieres  to  make  merry  over  my 
complaisance  ?  What  have  they  not  said  about  Charmier  (he 
was  a  husband  in  the  district  who  was  notoriously  deceived  ?) 
Was  there  not  a  smile  on  every  lip  at  the  mention  of  his 
name  ?  He  is  a  good  advocate,  but  whoever  said  anything 
about  his  talent  for  speaking  ?  '  Oh,  Charmier,'  they  say, 
1  Bernard's  Charmier,'  he  is  thus  designated  by  the  name  of 
the  man  who  disgraces  him." 

"  I  have  no  daughter,  thank  heaven,"  M.  de  Renal  would 


DIALOGUE  WITH  A  MASTER  13 1 

say  at  other  times,  "and  the  way  in  which  I  am  going  to 
punish  the  mother  will  consequently  not  be  so  harmful  to  my 
children's  household.  I  could  surprise  this  little  peasant 
with  my  wife  and  kill  them  both ;  in  that  case  the  tragedy  of 
the  situation  would  perhaps  do  away  with  the  grotesque 
element."  This  idea  appealed  to  him.  He  followed  it  up  in 
all  its  details.  "  The  penal  code  is  on  my  side,  and  whatever 
happens  our  congregation  and  my  friends  on  the  jury  will  save 
me."  He  examined  his  hunting-knife  which  was  quite  sharp, 
but  the  idea  of  blood  frightened  him. 

"  I  could  thrash  this  insolent  tutor  within  an  inch  of  his 
life  and  hound  him  out  of  the  house ;  but  what  a  sensation 
that  would  make  in  Verrieres  and  even  over  the  whole 
department !  After  Falcoz'  journal  had  been  condemned,  and 
when  its  chief  editor  left  prison,  I  had  a  hand  in  making  him 
lose  his  place  of  six  hundred  francs  a  year.  They  say  that 
this  scribbler  has  dared  to  show  himself  again  in  Besangon. 
He  may  lampoon  me  adroitly  and  in  such  a  way  that  it  will 
be  impossible  to  bring  him  up  before  the  courts.  Bring  him 
up  before  the  courts !  The  insolent  wretch  will  insinuate  in 
a  thousand  and  one  ways  that  he  has  spoken  the  truth.  A 
well-born  man  who  keeps  his  place  like  I  do,  is  hated  by  all 
the  plebeians.  I  shall  see  my  name  in  all  those  awful  Paris 
papers.  Oh,  my  God,  what  depths.  To  see  the  ancient 
name  of  Renal  plunged  in  the  mire  of  ridicule.  If  I  ever 
travel  I  shall  have  to  change  my  name.  What !  abandon  that 
name  which  is  my  glory  and  my  strength.  Could  anything  be 
worse  than  that? 

"  If  I  do  not  kill  my  wife  but  turn  her  out  in  disgrace,  she 
has  her  aunt  in  Besangon  who  is  going  to  hand  all  her 
fortune  over  to  her.  My  wife  will  go  and  live  in  Paris  with 
Julien.  It  will  be  known  at  Verrieres,  and  I  shall  be  taken 
for  a  dupe."  The  unhappy  man  then  noticed  from  the  paleness 
of  the  lamplight  that  the  dawn  was  beginning  to  appear.  He 
went  to  get  a  little  fresh  air  in  the  garden.  At  this  moment 
he  had  almost  determined  to  make  no  scandal,  particularly  in 
view  of  the  fact  that  a  scandal  would  overwhelm  with  joy  all 
his  good  friends  in  Verrieres. 

The  promenade  in  the  garden  calmed  him  a  little.  "  No," 
he  exclaimed,  "  I  shall  not  deprive  myself  of  my  wife,  she  is 
too  useful  to  me."     He  imagined  with  horror  what  his  house 


132       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

would  be  without  his  wife.      The  only  relative  he  had  was 
the  Marquise  of  R old,  stupid,  and  malicious. 

A  very  sensible  idea  occurred  to  him,  but  its  execution 
required  a  strength  of  character  considerably  superior  to  the 
small  amount  of  character  which  the  poor  man  possessed. 
"  If  I  keep  my  wife,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  I  know  what  I 
shall  do  one  day ;  on  some  occasion  when  she  makes  me 
lose  patience,  I  shall  reproach  her  with  her  guilt.  She  is 
proud,  we  shall  quarrel,  and  all  this  will  happen  before  she 
has  inherited  her  aunt's  fortune.  And  how  they  will  all  make 
fun  of  me  then  !  My  wife  loves  her  children,  the  result  will 
be  that  everything  will  go  to  them.  But  as  for  me,  I  shall  be 
the  laughing-stock  of  Verrieres.  '  What,'  they  will  say,  '  he 
could  not  even  manage  to  revenge  himself  on  his  wife  ! ' 
Would  it  not  be  better  to  leave  it  and  verify  nothing  ?  In 
that  case  I  tie  my  hands,  and  cannot  afterwards  reproach  her 
with  anything." 

An  instant  afterwards  M.  de  Renal,  once  more  a  prey  to 
wounded  vanity,  set  himself  laboriously  to  recollect  all  the 
methods  of  procedure  mentioned  in  the  billiard-room  of  the 
Casino  or  the  Nobles'  Club  in  Verrieres,  when  some  fine 
talker  interrupted  the  pool  to  divert  himself  at  the  expense  of 
some  deceived  husband.  How  cruel  these  pleasantries 
appeared  to  him  at  the  present  moment ! 

"  My  God,  why  is  my  wife  not  dead  !  then  I  should  be 
impregnable  against  ridicule.  Why  am  I  not  a  widower  ?  I 
should  go  and  pass  six  months  in  Paris  in  the  best  society. 
After  this  moment  of  happiness  occasioned  by  the  idea  of 
widowerhood,  his  imagination  reverted  to  the  means  of 
assuring  himself  of  the  truth.  Should  he  put  a  slight  layer  of 
bran  before  the  door  of  Julien's  room  at  midnight  after 
everyone  had  gone  to  bed  ?  He  would  see  the  impression  of 
the  feet  in  the  following  morning. 

"  But  that's  no  good,"  he  suddenly  exclaimed  with  rage. 
"  That  inquisitive  Elisa  will  notice  it,  and  they  will  soon  know 
all  over  the  house  that  I  am  jealous." 

In  another  Casino  tale  a  husband  had  assured  himself  of  his 
misfortune  by  tying  a  hair  with  a  little  wax  so  that  it  shut  the 
door  of  the  gallant  as  effectually  as  a  seal. 

After  so  many  hours  of  uncertainty  this  means  of  clearing 
up  his  fate  seemed  to  him  emphatically  the  best,  and  he  was 


DIALOGUE  WITH  A  MASTER  133 

thinking  of  availing  himself  of  it  when,  in  one  of  the  turnings 
of  the  avenue  he  met  the  very  woman  whom  he  would  like  to 
have  seen  dead.  She  was  coming  back  from  the  village.  She 
had  gone  to  hear  mass  in  the  church  of  Vergy.  A  tradition, 
extremely  doubtful  in  the  eyes  of  the  cold  philosopher,  but  in 
which  she  believed,  alleges  that  the  little  church  was  once  the 
chapel  of  the  chateau  of  the  Lord  of  Vergy.  This  idea 
obsessed  Madame  de  Renal  all  the  time  in  the  church  that 
she  had  counted  on  spending  in  prayer.  She  kept  on  imagin- 
ing to  herself  the  spectacle  of  her  husband  killing  Julien  when 
out  hunting  as  though  by  accident,  and  then  making  her  eat 
his  heart  in  the  evening. 

"  My  fate,"  she  said  to  herself,  "  depends  on  what  he  will 
think  when  he  listens  to  me.  It  may  be  I  shall  never  get 
another  opportunity  of  speaking  to  him  after  this  fatal  quarter 
of  an  hour.  He  is  not  a  reasonable  person  who  is  governed 
by  his  intellect.  In  that  case,  with  the  help  of  my  weak 
intelligence,  I  could  anticipate  what  he  will  do  or  say.  He 
will  decide  our  common  fate.  He  has  the  power.  But  this 
fate  depends  on  my  adroitness,  on  my  skill  in  directing  the 
ideas  of  this  crank,  who  is  blinded  by  his  rage  and  unable  to 
see  half  of  what  takes  place.  Great  God  !  I  need  talent  and 
coolness,  where  shall  I  get  it  ?  " 

She  regained  her  calmness  as  though  by  magic,  and  she 
entered  the  garden  and  saw  her  husband  in  the  distance. 
His  dishevelled  hair  and  disordered  dress  showed  that  he  had 
not  slept. 

She  gave  him  a  letter  with  a  broken  seal  but  folded.  As 
for  him,  without  opening  it,  he  gazed  at  his  wife  with  the  eyes 
of  a  madman. 

"  Here's  an  abominable  thing,"  she  said  to  him,  "  which  an 
evil-looking  man  who  makes  out  that  he  knows  you  and  is 
under  an  obligation  to  you,  handed  to  me  as  I  was  passing 
behind  the  notary's  garden.  I  insist  on  one  thing  and  that  is 
that  you  send  back  this  M.  Julien  to  his  parents  and  without 
delay."  Madame  de  Renal  hastened  to  say  these  words, 
perhaps  a  little  before  the  psychological  moment,  in  order 
to  free  herself  from  the  awful  prospect  of  having  to  say 
them. 

She  was  seized  with  joy  on  seeing  that  which  she  was 
occasioning  to  her  husband.     She  realised  from  the  fixed  stare 


134       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

which  he  was  rivetting  on  her  that  Julien  had  surmised 
rightly. 

"  What  a  genius  he  is  to  be  so  brilliantly  diplomatic  instead 
of  succumbing  to  so  real  a  misfortune,"  she  thought.  "  He 
will  go  very  far  in  the  future  !  Alas,  his  successes  will  only 
make  him  forget  me." 

This  little  act  of  admiration  for  the  man  whom  she  adored 
quite  cured  her  of  her  trouble. 

She  congratulated  herself  on  her  tactics.  "  I  have  not  been 
unworthy  of  Julien,"  she  said  to  herself  with  a  sweet  and 
secret  pleasure. 

M.  de  Renal  kept  examining  the  second  anonymous  letter 
which  the  reader  may  remember  was  composed  of  printed 
words  glued  on  to  a  paper  verging  on  blue.  He  did  not  say 
a  word  for  fear  of  giving  himself  away.  "  They  still  make  fun 
of  me  in  every  possible  way,"  said  M.  de  Renal  to  himself, 
overwhelmed  with  exhaustion.  "  Still  more  new  insults  to 
examine  and  all  the  time  on  accouut  of  my  wife."  He  was 
on  the  point  of  heaping  on  her  the  coarsest  insults  He  was 
barely  checked  by  the  prospects  of  the  Besancon  legacy. 
Consumed  by  the  need  of  venting  his  feelings  on  something, 
he  crumpled  up  the  paper  of  the  second  anonymous  letter  and 
began  to  walk  about  with  huge  strides.  He  needed  to  get 
away  from  his  wife.  A  few  moments  afterwards  he  came 
back  to  her  in  a  quieter  frame  of  mind. 

"  The  thing  is  to  take  some  definite  line  and  send  Julien 
away,"  she  said  immediately,  "  after  all  it  is  only  a  labourer's 
son.  You  will  compensate  him  by  a  few  crowns  and  besides 
he  is  clever  and  will  easily  manage  to  find  a  place,  with  M. 
Valenod  for  example,  or  with  the  sub-prefect  De  Maugiron 
who  both  have  children.  In  that  way  you  will  not  be  doing 
him  any  wrong.    .    .     ." 

"  There  you  go  talking  like  the  fool  that  you  are,"  exclaimed 
M.  de  Renal  in  a  terrible  voice.  "  How  can  one  hope  that  a 
woman  will  show  any  good  sense  ?  You  never  bother  yourself 
about  common  sense.  How  can  you  ever  get  to  know  any- 
thing ?  Your  indifference  and  your  idleness  give  you  no 
energy  except  for  hunting  those  miserable  butterflies,  which 
we  are  unfortunate  to  have  in  our  houses." 

Madame  de  Renal  let  him  speak  and  he  spoke  for  a  long 
time.    He  was  working- off his  anger,  to  use  the  local  expression. 


DIALOGUE  WITH  A  MASTER  135 

"  Monsieur,"  she  answered  him  at  last,  "  I  speak  as  a 
woman  who  has  been  outraged  in  her  honour,  that  is  to  say, 
in  what  she  holds  most  precious." 

Madame  de  Renal  preserved  an  unalterable  sang-froid 
during  all  this  painful  conversation  on  the  result  of  which 
depended  the  possibility  of  still  living  under  the  same  roof  as 
Julien.  She  sought  for  the  ideas  which  she  thought  most 
adapted  to  guide  her  husband's  blind  anger  into  a  safe  channel. 
She  had  been  insensible  to  all  the  insulting  imputations  which 
he  had  addressed  to  her.  She  was  not  listening  to  them,  she 
was  then  thinking  about  Julien.  "  Will  he  be  pleased  with 
me?" 

"  This  little  peasant  whom  we  have  loaded  with  attentions, 
and  even  with  presents,  may  be  innocent,"  she  said  to  him  at 
last,  "  but  he  is  none  the  less  the  occasion  of  the  first  affront 
that  I  have  ever  received.  Monsieur,  when  I  read  this 
abominable  paper,  I  vowed  to  myself  that  either  he  or  I 
should  leave  your  house." 

"  Do  you  want  to  make  a  scandal  so  as  to  dishonour  me 
and  yourself  as  well  ?  You  will  make  things  hum  in  Verrieres 
I  can  assure  you." 

"  It  is  true,  the  degree  of  prosperity  in  which  your  prudent 
management  has  succeeded  in  placing  you  yourself,  your 
family  and  the  town  is  the  subject  of  general  envy.  .  .  .  Well, 
I  will  urge  Julien  to  ask  you  for  a  holiday  to  go  and  spend 
the  month  with  that  wood-merchant  of  the  mountains,  a  fit 
friend  to  be  sure  for  this  little  labourer." 

"  Mind  you  do  nothing  at  all,"  resumed  M.  de  Renal  with  a 
fair  amount  of  tranquillity.  "  I  particularly  insist  on  your  not 
speaking  to  him.  You  will  put  him  into  a  temper  and  make 
him  quarrel  with  me.  You  know  to  what  extent  this  little 
gentleman  is  always  spoiling  for  a  quarrel." 

"That  young  man  has  no  tact,"  resumed  Madame  de  Renal. 
"  He  may  be  learned,  you  know  all  about  that,  but  at  bottom 
he  is  only  a  peasant.  For  my  own  part  I  never  thought  much 
of  him  since  he  refused  to  marry  Elisa.  It  was  an  assured 
fortune  ;  and  that  on  the  pretext  that  sometimes  she  had 
made  secret  visits  to  M.  Valenod." 

"  Ah,"  said  M.  de  Renal,  lifting  up  his  eyebrows  inordinately. 
"  What,  did  Julien  tell  you  that  ?  " 

"  Not  exactly,  he  always  talked   of  the  vocation  which  calls 


136       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

him  to  the  holy  ministry,  but  believe  me,  the  first  vocation 
for  those  lower-class  people  is  getting  their  bread  and  butter. 
He  gave  me  to  understand  that  he  was  quite  aware  of  her 
secret  visits." 

"  And  I — I  was  ignorant,"  exclaimed  M.  de  Renal,  growing 
as  angry  as  before  and  accentuating  his  words.  "  Things  take 
place  in  my  house  which  I  know  nothing  about.  .  .  .  What ! 
has  there  been  anything  between  Elisa  and  Valenod  ?  " 

"  Oh,  that's  old  history,  my  dear,"  said  Madame  de  Renal 
with  a  smile,  "and  perhaps  no  harm  has  come  of  it.  It  was 
at  the  time  when  your  good  friend  Valenod  would  not  have 
minded  their  thinking  at  Verrieres  that  a  perfectly  platonic 
little  affection  was  growing  up  between  him  and  me." 

"I  had  that  idea  once  myself,"  exclaimed  M.  de  Renal, 
furiously  striking  his  head  as  he  progressed  from  discovery  to 
discovery,  "  and  you  told  me  nothing  about  it." 

"  Should  one  set  two  friends  by  the  ears  on  account  of  a 
little  fit  of  vanity  on  the  part  of  our  dear  director  ?  What 
society  woman  has  not  had  addressed  to  her  a  few  letters 
which  were  both  extremely  witty  and  even  a  little  gallant  ?  " 

"  He  has  written  to  you  ?  " 

"  He  writes  a  great  deal." 

"  Show  me  those  letters  at  once,  I  order  you,"  and  M.  de 
Renal  pulled  himself  up  to  his  six  feet. 

"  I  will  do  nothing  of  the  kind,"  he  was  answered  with  a 
sweetness  verging  on  indifference.  "I  will  show  you  them 
one  day  when  you  are  in  a  better  frame  of  mind." 

"  This  very  instant,  odds  life,'-'  exclaimed  M.  de  Renal, 
transported  with  rage  and  yet  happier  than  he  had  been  for 
twelve  hours. 

"Will  you  swear  to  me,"  said  Madame  de  Renal  quite 
gravely,  "  never  to  quarrel  with  the  director  of  the  workhouse 
about  these  letters  ?  " 

"  Quarrel  or  no  quarrel,  I  can  take  those  foundlings  away 
from  him,  but,"  he  continued  furiously,  "  I  want  those  letters 
at  once.     Where  are  they  ?  " 

"  In  a  drawer  in  my  secretary,  but  I  shall  certainly  not  give 
you  the  key." 

"  I'll  manage  to  break  it,"  he  cried,  running  towards  his 
wife's  room. 

He  did  break  in  fact  with  a  bar  of  iron  a  costly  secretary  of 


DIALOGUE  WITH  A  MASTER  137 

veined  mahogany  which  came  from  Paris  and  which  he  had 
often  been  accustomed  to  wipe  with  the  nap  of  his  coat,  when 
he  thought  he  had  detected  a  spot. 

Madame  de  Renal  had  climbed  up  at  a  run  the  hundred 
and  twenty  steps  of  the  dovecot.  She  tied  the  corner  of  a 
white  handkerchief  to  one  of  the  bars  of  iron  of  the  little 
window.  She  was  the  happiest  of  women.  With  tears  in  her 
eyes  she  looked  towards  the  great  mountain  forest.  "  Doubt- 
less," she  said  to  herself,  "  Julien  is  watching  for  this  happy 
signal." 

She  listened  attentively  for  a  long  time  and  then  she  cursed 
the  monotonous  noise  of  the  grasshopper  and  the  song  of  the 
birds.  "  Had  it  not  been  for  that  importunate  noise,  a  cry  of 
joy  starting  from  the  big  rocks  could  have  arrived  here." 
Her  greedy  eye  devoured  that  immense  slope  of  dark 
verdure  which  was  as  level  as  a  meadow. 

"Why  isn't  he  clever  enough,"  she  said  to  herself,  quite 
overcome,  "  to  invent  some  signal  to  tell  me  that  his  happiness 
is  equal  to  mine  ? "  She  only  came  down  from  the  dovecot 
when  she  was  frightened  of  her  husband  coming  there  to  look 
for  her. 

She  found  him  furious.  He  was  perusing  the  soothing 
phrases  of  M.  de  Valenod  and  reading  them  with  an  emotion 
to  which  they  were  but  little  used. 

"  I  always  come  back  to  the  same  idea,"  said  Madame  de 
Renal  seizing  a  moment  when  a  pause  in  her  husband's 
ejaculations  gave  her  the  possibility  of  getting  heard.  "It  is 
necessary  for  Julien  to  travel.  Whatever  talent  he  may  have 
for  Latin,  he  is  only  a  peasant  after  all,  often  coarse  and 
lacking  in  tact.  Thinking  to  be  polite,  he  addresses  inflated 
compliments  to  me  every  day,  which  are  in  bad  taste.  He 
learns  them  by  heart  out  of  some  novel  or  other." 

"  He  never  reads  one,"  exclaimed  M.  de  Renal.  "  I  am 
assured  of  it.  Do  you  think  that  I  am  the  master  of  a  house 
who  is  so  blind  as  to  be  ignorant  of  what  takes  place  in  his 
own  home." 

"  Well,  if  he  doesn't  read  these  droll  compliments  anywhere, 
he  invents  them,  and  that's  all  the  worse  so  far  as  he  is 
concerned.  He  must  have  talked  about  me  in  this  tone  in 
Verrieres  and  perhaps  without  going  so  far,"  said  Madame 
Renal  with  the  idea  of  making  a  discovery,' "  he  may  have 


138       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

talked  in  the  same  strain  to  Elisa,  which  is  almost  the  same 
as  if  he  had  said  it  to  M.  Valenod." 

"  Ah,"  exclaimed  M.  de  Renal,  shaking  the  table  and  the 
room  with  one  of  the  most  violent  raps  ever  made  by  a  human 
fist.  "The  anonymous  printed  letter  and  Valenod's  letters 
are  written  on  the  same  paper." 

"  At  last,"  thought  Madame  de  Renal.  She  pretended  to 
be  overwhelmed  at  this  discovery,  and  without  having  the 
courage  to  add  a  single  word,  went  and  sat  down  some  way 
off  on  the  divan  at  the  bottom  of  the  drawing-room. 

From  this  point  the  battle  was  won.  She  had  a  great  deal 
of  trouble  in  preventing  M.  de  Renal  from  going  to  speak  to 
the  supposed  author  of  the  anonymous  letter.  "  What,  can't 
you  see  that  making  a  scene  with  M.  Valenod  without  sufficient 
proof  would  be  the  most  signal  mistake?  You  are  envied, 
Monsieur,  and  who  is  responsible  ?  Your  talents  :  your  wise 
management,  your  tasteful  buildings,  the  dowry  which  I  have 
brought  you,  and  above  all,  the  substantial  legacy  which  we 
are  entitled  to  hope  for  from  my  good  aunt,  a  legacy,  the 
importance  of  which  is  inordinately  exaggerated,  have  made 
you  into  the  first  person  in  Verrieres." 

"  You  are  forgetting  my  birth,"  said  M.  de  Renal,  smiling  a 
little. 

"  You  are  one  of  the  most  distinguished  gentlemen  in  the 
province,"  replied  Madame  de  Renal  emphatically.  "  If  the 
king  were  free  and  could  give  birth  its  proper  due,  you  would 
no  doubt  figure  in  the  Chamber  of  Peers,  etc.  And  being  in 
this  magnificent  position,  you  yet  wish  to  give  the  envious  a 
fact  to  take  hold  of." 

"  To  speak  about  this  anonymous  letter  to  M.  Valenod  is 
equivalent  to  proclaiming  over  the  whole  of  Verrieres,  nay, 
over  the  whole  of  Besancon,  over  the  whole  province  that  this 
little  bourgeois  who  has  been  admitted  perhaps  imprudently  to 
intimacy  with  a  Renal,  has  managed  to  offend  him.  At  the 
time  when  those  letters  which  you  have  just  taken  prove  that 
I  have  reciprocated  M.  Valenod's  love,  you  ought  to  kill  me. 
I  should  have  deserved  it  a  hundred  times  over,  but  not  to 
show  him  your  anger.  Remember  that  all  our  neighbours  are 
only  waiting  for  an  excuse  to  revenge  themselves  for  your 
superiority.  Remember  that  in  1816  you  had  a  hand  in 
certain  arrests. 


DIALOGUE  WITH  A  MASTER  139 

"  I  think  that  you  show  neither  consideration  nor  love  for 
me,"  exclaimed  M.  de  Renal  with  all  the  bitterness  evoked  by 
such  a  memory,  "  and  I  was  not  made  a  peer." 

"  I  am  thinking,  my  dear,"  resumed  Madame  de  Renal  with 
a  smile,  "  that  I  shall  be  richer  than  you  are,  that  I  have  been 
your  companion  for  twelve  years,  and  that  by  virtue  of  those 
qualifications  I  am  entitled  to  have  a  voice  in  the  council 
and,  above  all,  in  today's  business.  If  you  prefer  M.  Julien 
to  me,"  she  added,  with  a  touch  of  temper  which  was  but 
thinly  disguised,  "  I  am  ready  to  go  and  pass  a  winter  with 
my  aunt."  These  words  proved  a  lucky  shot.  They  possessed 
a  firmness  which  endeavoured  to  clothe  itself  with  courtesy. 
It  decided  M.  de  Renal,  but  following  the  provincial  custom, 
he  still  thought  for  a  long  time,  and  went  again  over  all  his 
arguments ;  his  wife  let  him  speak.  There  was  still  a  touch 
of  anger  in  his  intonation.  Finally  two  hours  of  futile  rant 
exhausted  the  strength  of  a  man  who  had  been  subject  during 
the  whole  night  to  a  continuous  fit  of  anger.  He  determined 
on  the  line  of  conduct  he  was  going  to  follow  with  regard  to 
M.  Valenod,  Julien  and  even  Elisa. 

Madame  de  Renal  was  on  the  point  once  or  twice  during 
this  great  scene  of  feeling  some  sympathy  for  the  very  real 
unhappiness  of  the  man  who  had  been  so  dear  to  her 
for  twelve  years.  But  true  passions  are  selfish.  Besides  she 
was  expecting  him  every  instant  to  mention  the  anonymous 
letter  which  he  had  received  the  day  before  and  he  did  not 
mention  it.  In  order  to  feel  quite  safe,  Madame  de  Renal 
wanted  to  know  the  ideas  which  the  letter  had  succeeding  in 
suggesting  to  the  man  on  whom  her  fate  depended,  for,  in  the 
provinces  the  husbands  are  the  masters  of  public  opinion. 
A  husband  who  complains  covers  himself  with  ridicule,  an 
inconvenience  which  becomes  no  less  dangerous  in  France 
with  each  succeeding  year;  but  if  he  refuses  to  provide  his 
wife  with  money,  she  falls  to  the  status  of  a  labouring  woman 
at  fifteen  sous  a  day,  while  the  virtuous  souls  have  scruples 
about  employing  her. 

An  odalisque  in  the  seraglio  can  love  the  Sultan  with  all 
her  might.  He  is  all-powerful  and  she  has  no  hope  of 
stealing  his  authority  by  a  series  of  little  subtleties.  The 
master's  vengeance  is  terrible  and  bloody  but  martial  and 
generous ;  a  dagger  thrust  finishes  everything.      But  it  is  by 


t4o       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

stabbing  her  with  public  contempt  that  a  nineteenth-century 
husband  kills  his  wife.  It  is  by  shutting  against  her  the  doors 
of  all  the  drawing-rooms. 

When  Madame  de  Renal  returned  to  her  room,  her  feeling 
of  danger  was  vividly  awakened.  She  was  shocked  by  the 
disorder  in  which  she  found  it.  The  locks  of  all  the  pretty 
little  boxes  had  been  broken.  Many  planks  in  the  floor  had 
been  lifted  up.  "  He  would  have  no  pity  on  me,"  she  said  to 
herself.  "To  think  of  his  spoiling  like  this,  this  coloured 
wood  floor  which  he  likes  so  much ;  he  gets  red  with  rage 
whenever  one  of  his  children  comes  into  it  with  wet  shoes, 
and  now  it  is  spoilt  for  ever."  The  spectacle  of  this  violence 
immediately  banished  the  last  scruples  which  she  was  enter- 
taining with  respect  to  that  victory  which  she  had  won  only 
too  rapidly. 

Julien  came  back  with  the  children  a  little  before  the 
dinner-bell.  Madame  de  Renal  said  to  him  very  drily  at 
dessert  when  the  servant  had  left  the  room  : 

"  You  have  told  me  about  your  wish  to  go  and  spend  a 
fortnight  at  Verrieres.  M.  de  Renal  is  kind  enough  to  give 
you  a  holiday.  You  can  leave  as  soon  as  you  like,  but  the 
childrens'  exercises  will  be  sent  to  you  every  day  so  that  they 
do  not  waste  their  time."  "  I  shall  certainly  not  allow  you 
more  than  a  week,"  said  M.  de  Renal  in  a  very  bitter  tone. 
Julien  thought  his  visage  betrayed  the  anxiety  of  a  man  who 
was  seriously  harassed. 

"  He  has  not  yet  decided  what  line  to  take,"  he  said  to  his 
love  during  a  moment  when  they  were  alone  together  in  the 
drawing-room. 

Madame  de  Renal  rapidly  recounted  to  him  all  she  had 
done  since  the  morning. 

"  The  details  are  for  to-night,"  she  added  with  a  smile. 

"  Feminine  perversity,"  thought  Julien,  "  What  can  be  the 
pleasure,  what  can  be  the  instinct  which  induces  them  to 
deceive  us." 

"  I  think  you  are  both  enlightened  and  at  the  same  time 
blinded  by  your  love,"  he  said  to  her  with  some  coldness. 
"  Your  conduct  to-day  has  been  admirable,  but  is  it  prudent 
for  us  to  try  and  see  each  other  to-night?  This  house  is 
paved  with  enemies.  Just  think  of  Elisa's  passionate  hatred 
for  me." 


DIALOGUE  WITH  A  MASTER  141 

"That  hate  is  very  like  the  passionate  indifference  which 
you  no  doubt  have  for  me." 

"  Even  if  I  were  indifferent  I  ought  to  save  you  from  the 
peril  in  which  I  have  plunged  you.  If  chance  so  wills  it  that 
M.  de  Renal  should  speak  to  Elisa,  she  can  acquaint  him  with 
everything  in  a  single  word.  What  is  to  prevent  him  from 
hiding  near  my  room  fully  armed  ?  " 

"  What,  not  even  courage  ?  "  said  Madame  de  Renal,  with 
all  the  haughtiness  of  a  scion  of  nobility. 

"  I  will  never  demean  myself  to  speak  about  my  courage," 
said  Julien,  coldly,  "  it  would  be  mean  to  do  so.  Let  the 
world  judge  by  the  facts.  But,"  he  added,  taking  her  hand, 
"  you  have  no  idea  how  devoted  I  am  to  you  and  how  over- 
joyed I  am  of  being  able  to  say  good-bye  to  you  before  this 
cruel  separation." 


CHAPTER  XXII 

MANNERS    OF    PROCEDURE   IN    1830 

Speech  has  been  given  to  man  to  conceal  his  thought. 

R.  P.  Malagrida. 

Julien  had  scarcely  arrived  at  Verrieres  before  he  reproached 
himself  with  his  injustice  towards  Madame  de  Renal.  "  I 
should  have  despised  her  for  a  weakling  of  a  woman  if  she 
had  not  had  the  strength  to  go  through  with  her  scene  with 
M.  de  Renal.  But  she  has  acquitted  herself  like  a  diplomatist 
and  I  sympathise  with  the  defeat  of  the  man  who  is  my  enemy. 
There  is  a  bourgeois  prejudice  in  my  action;  my  vanity  is 
offended  because  M.  de  Renal  is  a  man.  Men  form  a  vast 
and  illustrious  body  to  which  I  have  the  honour  to  belong.  I 
am  nothing  but  a  fool."  M.  Chelan  had  refused  the  magnificent 
apartments  which  the  most  important  Liberals  in  the  district 
had  offered  him,  when  his  loss  of  his  living  had  necessitated 
his  leaving  the  parsonage.  The  two  rooms  which  he  had 
rented  were  littered  with  his  books.  Julien,  wishing  to  show 
Verrieres  what  a  priest  could  do,  went  and  fetched  a  dozen 
pinewood  planks  from  his  father,  carried  them  on  his  back  all 
along  the  Grande-Rue,  borrowed  some  tools  from  an  old 
comrade  and  soon  built  a  kind  of  bookcase  in  which  he 
arranged  M.  Chelan's  books. 

"  I  thought  you  were  corrupted  by  the  vanity  of  the  world," 
said  the  old  man  to  him  as  he  cried  with  joy,  "  but  this  is 
something  which  well  redeems  all  the  childishness  of  that 
brilliant  Guard  of  Honour  uniform  which  has  made  you  so 
many  enemies." 

M.  de  Renal  had  ordered  Julien  to  stay  at  his  house.  No 
one  suspected  what  had  taken  place.  The  third  day  after  his 
arrival  Julien  saw  no  less  a  personage  than  M.  the  sub-prefec 


MANNERS  OF  PROCEDURE  IN  1830  143 

de  Maugiron  come  all  the  way  up  the  stairs  to  his  room.  It 
was  only  after  two  long  hours  of  fatuous  gossip  and  long- 
winded  lamentations  about  the  wickedness  of  man,  the  lack 
of  honesty  among  the  people  entrusted  with  the  administration 
of  the  public  funds,  the  dangers  of  his  poor  France,  etc.  etc., 
that  Julien  was  at  last  vouchsafed  a  glimpse  of  the  object  of 
the  visit.  They  were  already  on  the  landing  of  the  staircase 
and  the  poor  half  disgraced  tutor  was  escorting  with  all  proper 
deference  the  future  prefect  of  some  prosperous  department, 
when  the  latter  was  pleased  to  take  an  interest  in  Julien's 
fortune,  to  praise  his  moderation  in  money  matters,  etc.,  etc. 
Finally  M.  de  Maugiron,  embracing  him  in  the  most  paternal 
way,  proposed  that  he  should  leave  M.  de  Renal  and  enter 
the  household  of  an  official  who  had  children  to  educate  and 
who,  like  King  Philippe,  thanked  Heaven  not  so  much  that 
they  had  been  granted  to  him,  but  for  the  fact  that  they  had 
been  born  in  the  same  neighbourhood  as  M.  Julien.  Their 
tutor  would  enjoy  a  salary  of  800  francs,  payable  not  from 
month  to  month,  which  is  not  at  all  aristocratic,  said  M.  de 
Maugiron,  but  quarterly  and  always  in  advance. 

It  was  Julien's  turn  now.  After  he  had  been  bored  for  an 
hour  and  a  half  by  waiting  for  what  he  had  to  say,  his  answer 
was  perfect  and,  above  all,  as  long  as  a  bishop's  charge.  It 
suggested  everything  and  yet  said  nothing  clearly.  It  showed 
at  the  same  time  respect  for  M.  de  Renal,  veneration  for  the 
public  of  Verrieres  and  gratitude  to  the  distinguished  sub- 
prefect.  The  sub-prefect,  astonished  at  finding  him  more 
Jesuitical  than  himself,  tried  in  vain  to  obtain  something 
definite.  Julien  was  delighted,  seized  the  opportunity  to 
practise,  and  started  his  answer  all  over  again  in  different 
language.  Never  has  an  eloquent  minister  who  wished  to 
make  the  most  of  the  end  of  a  session  when  the  Chamber 
really  seemed  desirous  of  waking  up,  said  less  in  more  words. 

M.  de  Maugiron  had  scarcely  left  before  Julien  began  to 
laugh  like  a  madman.  In  order  to  exploit  his  Jesuitical 
smartness,  he  wrote  a  nine-page  letter  to  M.  de  Renal  in  which 
he  gave  him  an  account  of  all  that  had  been  said  to  him  and 
humbly  asked  his  advice.  "  But  the  old  scoundrel  has  not 
told  me  the  name  of  the  person  who  is  making  the  offer.  It 
is  bound  to  be  M.  Valenod  who,  no  doubt,  sees  in  my  exile  at 
Verrieres  the  result  of  his  anonymous  letter." 


144       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Having  sent  off  his  despatch  and  feeling  as  satisfied  as  a 
hunter  who  at  six  o'clock  in  the  morning  on  a  fine  autumn 
day,  comes  out  into  a  plain  that  abounds  with  game,  he  went 
out  to  go  and  ask  advice  of  M.  Chelan.  But  before  he  had 
arrived  at  the  good  cure's,  providence,  wishing  to  shower 
favours  upon  him,  threw  in  his  path  M.  de  Valenod,  to  whom 
he  owned  quite  freely  that  his  heart  was  torn  in  two ;  a  poor 
lad  such  as  he  was  owed  an  exclusive  devotion  to  the  vocation 
to  which  it  had  pleased  Heaven  to  call  him.  But  vocation 
was  not  everything  in  this  base  world.  In  order  to  work 
worthily  at  the  vine  of  the  Lord,  and  to  be  not  totally  unworthy 
of  so  many  worthy  colleagues,  it  was  necessary  to  be  educated ; 
it  was  necessary  to  spend  two  expensive  years  at  the  seminary 
of  Besancon ;  saving  consequently  became  an  imperative 
necessity,  and  was  certainly  much  easier  with  a  salary  of  eight 
hundred  francs  paid  quarterly  than  with  six  hundred  francs 
which  one  received  monthly.  On  the  other  hand,  did  not 
Heaven,  by  placing  him  by  the  side  of  the  young  de  Renals, 
and  especially  by  inspiring  him  with  a  special  devotion  to 
them,  seem  to  indicate  that  it  was  not  proper  to  abandon  that 
education  for  another  one. 

Julien  reached  such  a  degree  of  perfection  in  that  particular 
kind  of  eloquence  which  has  succeeded  the  drastic  quickness 
of  the  empire,  that  he  finished  by  boring  himself  with  the 
sound  of  his  own  words. 

On  reaching  home  he  found  a  valet  of  M.  Valenod  in  full 
livery  who  had  been  looking  for  him  all  over  the  town,  with  a 
card  inviting  him  to  dinner  for  that  same  day. 

Julien  had  never  been  in  that  man's  house.  Only  a  few 
days  before  he  had  been  thinking  of  nothing  but  the  means  of 
giving  him  a  sound  thrashing  without  getting  into  trouble  with 
the  police.  Although  the  time  of  the  dinner  was  one  o'clock, 
Julien  thought  it  was  more  deferential  to  present  himself  at 
half-past  twelve  at  the  office  of  M.  the  director  of  the  workhouse. 
He  found  him  parading  his  importance  in  the  middle  of  a  lot 
of  despatch  boxes.  His  large  black  whiskers,  his  enormous 
quantity  of  hair,  his  Greek  bonnet  placed  across  the  top  of  his 
head,  his  immense  pipe,  his  embroidered  slippers,  the  big  chains 
of  gold  crossed  all  over  his  breast,  and  the  whole  stock-in- 
trade  of  a  provincial  financier  who  considers  himself  prosper- 
ous, failed   to  impose  on  Julien  in   the   least ;     They  only 


MANNERS  OF  PROCEDURE  IN  1830         145 

made  him   think  the  more  of  the  thrashing  which  he  owed 
him. 

He  asked  for  the  honour  of  being  introduced  to  Madame 
Valenod.  She  was  dressing  and  was  unable  to  receive  him. 
By  way  of  compensation  he  had  the  privilege  of  witnessing  the 
toilet  of  M.  the  director  of  the  workhouse.  They  subsequently 
went  into  the  apartment  of  Madame  Valenod,  who  introduced 
her  children  to  him  with  tears  in  her  eyes.  This  lady  was 
one  of  the  most  important  in  Verrieres,  had  a  big  face  like  a 
man's,  on  which  she  had  put  rouge  in  honour  of  this  great 
function.  She  displayed  all  the  maternal  pathos  of  which  she 
was  capable. 

Julien  thought  all  the  time  of  Madame  de  Renal.  His 
distrust  made  him  only  susceptible  to  those  associations  which 
are  called  up  by  their  opposites,  but  he  was  then  affected  to  the 
verge  of  breaking  down.  This  tendency  was  increased  by  the 
sight  of  the  house  of  the  director  of  the  workhouse.  He  was 
shown  over  it.  Everything  in  it  was  new  and  magnificent, 
and  he  was  told  the  price  of  every  article  of  furniture.  But 
Julien  detected  a  certain  element  of  sordidness,  which  smacked 
of  stolen  money  into  the  bargain.  Everybody  in  it,  down 
to  the  servants,  had  the  air  of  setting  his  face  in  advance 
against  contempt. 

The  collector  of  taxes,  the  superintendent  of  indirect  taxes, 
the  officer  of  gendarmerie,  and  two  or  three  other  public 
officials  arrived  with  their  wives.  They  were  followed  by  some 
rich  Liberals.  Dinner  was  announced.  It  occurred  to  Julien, 
who  was  already  feeling  upset,  that  there  were  some  poor 
prisoners  on  the  other  side  of  the  dining-room  wall,  and  that 
an  illicit  profit  had  perhaps  been  made  over  their  rations 
of  meat  in  order  to  purchase  all  that  garish  luxury  with  which 
they  were  trying  to  overwhelm  him. 

"  Perhaps  they  are  hungry  at  this  very  minute,"  he  said  to 
himself.  He  felt  a  choking  in  his  throat.  He  found  it 
impossible  to  eat  and  almost  impossible  to  speak.  Matters 
became  much  worse  a  quarter  of  an  hour  afterwards;  they 
heard  in  the  distance  some  refrains  of  a  popular  song  that 
was,  it  must  be  confessed,  a  little  vulgar,  which  was  being  sung 
by  one  of  the  inmates.  M.  Valenod  gave  a  look  to  one  of  his 
liveried  servants  who  disappeared  and  soon  there  was  no  more 
singing  to  be  heard.     At  that  moment  a  valet  offered  Julien 

10 

» 


146       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

some  Rhine  wine  in  a  green  glass  and  Madame  Valenod  made 
a  point  of  asking  him  to  note  that  this  wine  cost  nine  francs  a 
bottle  in  the  market.  Julien  held  up  his  green  glass  and  said 
to  M.  Valenod. 

"  They  are  not  singing  that  wretched  song  any  more." 

"Zounds,  I  should  think  not,"  answered  the  triumphant 
governor.     "  I  have  made  the  rascals  keep  quiet." 

These  words  were  too  much  for  Julien.  He  had  the 
manners  of  his  new  position,  but  he  had  not  yet  assimilated 
its  spirit.  In  spite  of  all  his  hypocrisy  and  its  frequent  practice, 
he  felt  a  big  tear  drip  down  his  cheek. 

He  tried  to  hide  it  in  the  green  glass,  but  he  found  it 
absolutely  impossible  to  do  justice  to  the  Rhine  wine.  "  Pre- 
venting singing  he  said  to  himself:  Oh,  my  God,  and  you 
suffer  it." 

Fortunately  nobody  noticed  his  ill-bred  emotion.  The 
collector  of  taxes  had  struck  up  a  royalist  song.  "  So  this," 
reflected  Julien's  conscience  during  the  hubbub  of  the  refrain 
which  was  sung  in  chorus,  "  is  the  sordid  prosperity  which  you 
will  eventually  reach,  and  you  will  only  enjoy  it  under  these 
conditions  and  in  company  like  this.  You  will,  perhaps,  have 
a  post  worth  twenty  thousand  francs;  but  while  you  gorge 
yourself  on  meat,  you  will  have  to  prevent  a  poor  prisoner  from 
singing ;  you  will  give  dinners  with  the  money  which  you  have 
stolen  out  of  his  miserable  rations  and  during  your  dinners  he 
will  be  still  more  wretched.  Oh,  Napoleon,  how  sweet  it  was 
to  climb  to  fortune  in  your  way  through  the  dangers  of  a 
battle,  but  to  think  of  aggravating  the  pain  of  the  unfortunate 
in  this  cowardly  way." 

I  own  that  the  weakness  which  Julien  had  been  manifesting 
in  this  soliloquy  gives  me  a  poor  opinion  of  him.  He  is 
worthy  of  being  the  accomplice  of  those  kid-gloved  conspirators 
who  purport  to  change  the  whole  essence  of  a  great  country's 
existence,  without  wishing  to  have  on  their  conscience  the 
most  trivial  scratch. 

Julien  was  sharply  brought  back  to  his  role.  He  had  not 
been  invited  to  dine  in  such  good  company  simply  to  moon 
dreamily  and  say  nothing. 

A  retired  manufacturer  of  cotton  prints,  a  corresponding 
member  of  the  Academy  of  Besan9on  and  of  that  of  Uzes, 
spoke  to  him  from  the  other  end  of  the  table  and  asked  him 


MANNERS  OF  PROCEDURE  IN  1830  147 

if  what  was  said  everywhere  about  his  astonishing  progress  in 
the  study  of  the  New  Testament  was  really  true. 

A  profound  silence  was  suddenly  inaugurated.  A  New 
Testament  in  Latin  was  found  as  though  by  magic  in  the 
possession  of  the  learned  member  of  the  two  Academies. 
After  Julien  had  answered,  part  of  a  sentence  in  Latin  was 
read  at  random.  Julien  then  recited.  His  memory  proved 
faithful  and  the  prodigy  was  admired  with  all  the  boisterous 
energy  of  the  end  of  dinner.  Julien  looked  at  the  flushed 
faces  of  the  ladies.  A  good  many  were  not  so  plain.  He 
recognised  the  wife  of  the  collector,  who  was  a  fine  singer. 

"  I  am  ashamed,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  to  talk  Latin  so  long 
before  these  ladies,"  he  said,  turning  his  eyes  on  her.  "  If  M. 
Rubigneau,"  that  was  the  name  of  the  member  of  the  two 
Academies,  "  will  be  kind  enough  to  read  a  Latin  sentence  at 
random  instead  of  answering  by  following  the  Latin  text,  I  will 
try  to  translate  it  impromptu."  This  second  test  completed  his 
glory. 

Several  Liberals  were  there,  who,  though  rich,  were  none 
the  less  the  happy  fathers  of  children  capable  of  obtaining 
scholarships,  and  had  consequently  been  suddenly  converted 
at  the  last  mission.  In  spite  of  this  diplomatic  step,  M.  de 
Renal  had  never  been  willing  to  receive  them  in  his  house. 
These  worthy  people,  who  only  knew  Julien  by  name  and  from 

having  seen  him  on  horseback  on  the  day  of  the  king  of 's 

entry,  were  his  most  noisy  admirers.  "  When  will  those 
fools  get  tired  of  listening  to  this  Biblical  language,  which  they 
don't  understand  in  the  least,"  he  thought.  But,  on  the 
contrary,  that  language  amused  them  by  its  strangeness  and 
made  them  smile.     But  Julien  got  tired. 

As  six  o'clock  struck  he  got  up  gravely  and  talked  about  a 
chapter  in  Ligorio's  New  Theology  which  he  had  to  learn  by 
heart  to  recite  on  the  following  day  to  M.  Chelan,  "  for,"  he 
added  pleasantly,  "  my  business  is  to  get  lessons  said  by  heart 
to  me,  and  to  say  them  by  heart  myself." 

There  was  much  laughter  and  admiration  ;  such  is  the  kind 
of  wit  which  is  customary  in  Verrieres.  Julien  had  already  got 
up  and  in  spite  of  etiquette  everybody  got  up  as  well,  so  great 
is  the  dominion  exercised  by  genius.  Madame  Valenod  kept 
him  for  another  quarter  of  an  hour.  He  really  must  hear  her 
children  recite  their  catechisms.     They  made  the  most  absurd 


148       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

mistakes  which  he  alone  noticed.  He  was  careful  not  to  point 
them  out.  "  What  ignorance  of  the  first  principles  of  religion," 
he  thought.  Finally  he  bowed  and  thought  he  could  get  away ; 
but  they  insisted  on  his  trying  a  fable  of  La  Fontaine. 

"  That  author  is  quite  immoral,"  said  Julien  to  Madame 
Valenod.  A  certain  fable  on  Messire  Jean  Chouart  dares  to  pour 
ridicule  on  all  that  we  hold  most  venerable.  He  is  shrewdly 
blamed  by  the  best  commentators.  Before  Julien  left  he  received 
four  or  five  invitations  to  dinner.  "  This  young  man  is  an  honour 
to  the  department,"  cried  all  the  guests  in  chorus.  They  even 
went  so  far  as  to  talk  of  a  pension  voted  out  of  the  municipal 
funds  to  put  him  in  the  position  of  continuing  his  studies  at  Paris. 

While  this  rash  idea  was  resounding  through  the  dining- 
room  Julien  had  swiftly  reached  the  front  door.  "You  scum, 
you  scum,"  he  cried,  three  or  four  times  in  succession  in  a  low 
voice  as  he  indulged  in  the  pleasure  of  breathing  in  the  fresh  air. 

He  felt  quite  an  aristocrat  at  this  moment,  though  he  was 
the  very  man  who  had  been  shocked  for  so  long  a  period  by 
the  haughty  smile  of  disdainful  superiority  which  he  detected 
behind  all  the  courtesies  addressed  to  him  at  M.  de  Renal's. 
He  could  not  help  realising  the  extreme  difference.  Why  let 
us  even  forget  the  fact  of  its  being  money  stolen  from  the 
poor  inmates,  he  said  to  himself  as  he  went  away,  let  us  forget 
also  their  stopping  the  singing.  M.  de  Renal  would  never 
think  of  telling  his  guests  the  price  of  each  bottle  of  wine 
with  which  he  regales  them,  and  as  for  this  M.  Valenod,  and 
his  chronic  cataloguing  of  his  various  belongings,  he  cannot 
talk  of  his  house,  his  estate,  etc.,  in  the  presence  of  his  wife 
without  saying,  "  Your  house,  your  estate." 

This  lady,  who  was  apparently  so  keenly  alive  to  the  delights 
of  decorum,  had  just  had  an  awful  scene  during  the  dinner 
with  a  servant  who  had  broken  a  wine-glass  and  spoilt  one  of 
her  dozens ;  and  the  servant  too  had  answered  her  back  with 
the  utmost  insolence. 

"What  a  collection,"  said  Julien  to  himself;  "I  would  not 
live  like  they  do  were  they  to  give  me  half  of  all  they  steal.  I 
shall  give  myself  away  one  fine  day.  I  should  not  be  able  to 
restrain  myself  from  expressing  the  disgust  with  which  they 
inspire  one." 

It  was  necessary,  however,  to  obev  Madame  de  Renal's  in 


MANNERS  OF  PROCEDURE  IN  1830  149 

junction  and  be  present  at  several  dinners  of  the  same  kind. 
Julien  was  the  fashion ;  he  was  forgiven  his  Guard  of  Honour 
uniform,  or  rather  that  indiscretion  was  the  real  cause  of  his 
successes.  Soon  the  only  question  in  Verrieres  was  whether 
M.  de  Renal  or  M.  the  director  of  the  workhouse  would  be  the 
victor  in  the  struggle  for  the  clever  young  man.  These 
gentlemen  formed,  together  with  M.  Maslon,  a  triumirate  which 
had  tyrannised  over  the  town  for  a  number  of  years.  People 
were  jealous  of  the  mayor,  and  the  Liberals  had  good  cause  for 
complaint,  but,  after  all,  he  was  noble  and  born  for  a  superior 
position,  while  M.  Valenod's  father  had  not  left  him  six  hundred 
francs  a  year.  His  career  had  necessitated  a  transition  from 
pitying  the  shabby  green  suit  which  had  been  so  notorious  in 
his  youth,  to  envying  the  Norman  horses,  his  gold  chains,  his 
Paris  clothes,  his  whole  present  prosperity. 

Julien  thought  that  he  had  discovered  one  honest  man  in 
the  whirlpool  of  this  novel  world.  He  was  a  geometrist  named 
Gros,  and  had  the  reputation  of  being  a  Jacobin.  Julien, 
who  had  vowed  to  say  nothing  but  that  which  he  disbelieved 
himself,  was  obliged  to  watch  himself  carefully  when  speaking 
to  M.  Gros.  He  received  big  packets  of  exercises  from  Vergy. 
He  was  advised  to  visit  his  father  frequently,  and  he  fulfilled 
his  unpleasant  duty.  In  a  word  he  was  patching  his  reputation 
together  pretty  well,  when  he  was  thoroughly  surprised  to  find 
himself  woken  up  one  morning  by  two  hands  held  over  his 
eyes. 

It  was  Madame  de  Renal  who  had  made  a  trip  to  the  town, 
and  who,  running  up  the  stairs  four  at  a  time  while  she  left  her 
children  playing  with  a  pet  rabbit,  had  reached  Julien's  room 
a  moment  before  her  sons.  This  moment  was  delicious  but 
very  short :  Madame  de  Renal  had  disappeared  when  the 
children  arrived  with  the  rabbit  which  they  wanted  to  show  to 
their  friend.  Julien  gave  them  all  a  hearty  welcome,  including 
the  rabbit.  He  seemed  at  home  again.  He  felt  that  he  loved 
these  children  and  that  he  enjoyed  gossiping  with  them.  He 
was  astonished  at  the  sweetness  of  their  voices,  at  the  simplicity 
and  dignity  of  their  little  ways  ;  he  felt  he  needed  to  purge  his 
imagination  of  all  the  vulgar  practices  and  all  the  unpleasant- 
nesses among  which  he  had  been  living  in  Verrieres.  For 
there  everyone  was  always  frightened  of  being  scored  off,  and 
luxury  and  poverty  were  at  daggers  drawn. 


150       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

The  people  with  whom  he  would  dine  would  enter  into 
confidences  over  the  joint  which  were  as  humiliating  for 
themselves  as  they  were  nauseating  to  the  hearer. 

"  You  others,  who  are  nobles,  you  are  right  to  be  proud,"  he 
said  to  Madame  de  Renal,  as  he  gave  her  an  account  of  all 
the  dinners  which  he  had  put  up  with. 

"  You're  the  fashion  then,"  and  she  laughed  heartily  as  she 
thought  of  the  rouge  which  Madame  Valenod  thought  herself 
obliged  to  put  on  each  time  she  expected  Julien.  "  I  think 
she  has  designs  on  your  heart,"  she  added. 

The  breakfast  was  delicious.  The  presence  of  the  children, 
though  apparently  embarrassing,  increased  as  a  matter  of  fact 
the  happiness  of  the  party.  The  poor  children  did  not  know 
how  to  give  expression  to  the  joy  at  seeing  Julien  again.  The 
servants  had  not  failed  to  tell  them  that  he  had  been  offered 
two  hundred  francs  a  year  more  to  educate  the  little 
Valenods. 

Stanislas-Xavier,  who  was  still  pale  from  his  illness,  suddenly 
asked  his  mother  in  the  middle  of  the  breakfast,  the  value  of 
his  silver  cover  and  of  the  goblet  in  which  he  was  drinking. 

"  Why  do  you  want  to  know  that  ?  " 

"  I  want  to  sell  them  to  give  the  price  to  M.  Julien  so  that 
he  shan't  be  done  if  he  stays  with  us." 

Julien  kissed  him  with  tears  in  his  eyes.  His  mother  wept 
unrestrainedly,  for  Julien  took  Stanislas  on  his  knees  and 
explained  to  him  that  he  should  not  use  the  word  "  done  " 
which,  when  employed  in  that  meaning  was  an  expression  only 
fit  for  the  servants'  hall.  Seeing  the  pleasure  which  he  was 
giving  to  Madame  de  Renal,  he  tried  to  explain  the  meaning 
of  being  "  done "  by  picturesque  illustrations  which  amused 
the  children. 

"  I  understand,"  said  Stanislas,  "  it's  like  the  crow  who  is 
silly  enough  to  let  his  cheese  fall  and  be  taken  by  the  fox  who 
has  been  playing  the  flatterer." 

Madame  de  Renal  felt  mad  with  joy  and  covered  her 
children  with  kisses,  a  process  which  involved  her  leaning  a 
little  on  Julien. 

Suddenly  the  door  opened.  It  was  M.  de  Renal.  His 
severe  and  discontented  expression  contrasted  strangely  with 
the  sweet  joy  which  his  presence  dissipated.  Madame  de 
Renal  grew  pale,  she  felt  herself  incapable  of  denying  anything. 


MANNERS  OF  PROCEDURE  IN  1830  151 

Julien  seized  command  of  the  conversation  and  commenced 
telling  M.  the  mayor  in  a  loud  voice  the  incident  of  the  silver 
goblet  which  Stanislas  wanted  to  sell.  He  was  quite  certain 
this  story  would  not  be  appreciated.  M.  de  Renal  first  of 
all  frowned  mechanically  at  the  mere  mention  of  money. 
Any  allusion  to  that  mineral,  he  was  accustomed  to  say,  is 
always  a  prelude  to  some  demand  made  upon  my  purse.  But 
this  was  something  more  than  a  mere  money  matter.  His 
suspicions  were  increased.  The  air  of  happiness  which 
animated  his  family  during  his  absence  was  not  calculated  to 
smooth  matters  over  with  a  man  who  was  a  prey  to  so  touchy 
a  vanity.  "  Yes,  yes,"  he  said,  as  his  wife  started  to  praise  to 
him  the  combined  grace  and  cleverness  of  the  way  in  which 
Julien  gave  ideas  to  his  pupils.  "  I  know,  he  renders  me 
hateful  to  my  own  children.  It  is  easy  enough  for  him  to 
make  himself  a  hundred  times  more  loveable  to  them  than 
I  am  myself,  though  after  all,  I  am  the  master.  In  this 
century  everything  tends  to  make  legitimate  authority  un- 
popular.    Poor  France  !  " 

Madame  de  Renal  had  not  stopped  to  examine  the  fine 
shades  of  the  welcome  which  her  husband  gave  her.  She 
had  just  caught  a  glimpse  of  the  possibility  of  spending  twelve 
hours  with  Julien.  She  had  a  lot  of  purchases  to  make  in 
the  town  and  declared  that  she  positively  insisted  in  going  to 
dine  at  the  tavern.  She  stuck  to  her  idea  in  spite  of  all 
her  husband's  protests  and  remonstrances.  The  children  were 
delighted  with  the  mere  word  tavern,  which  our  modern 
prudery  denounces  with  so  much  gusto. 

M.  de  Renal  left  his  wife  in  the  first  draper's  shop  which 
she  entered  and  went  to.  pay  some  visits.  He  came  back 
more  morose  than  he  had  been  in  the  morning.  He  was 
convinced  that  the  whole  town  was  busy  with  himself  and 
Julien.  As  a  matter  of  fact  no  one  had  yet  given  him  any 
inkling  as  to  the  more  offensive  part  of  the  public  gossip. 
Those  items  which  had  been  repeated  to  M.  the  mayor  dealt 
exclusively  with  the  question  of  whether  Julien  would  remain 
with  him  with  six  hundred  francs,  or  would  accept  the  eight 
hundred  francs  offered  by  M.  the  director  of  the  workhouse. 

The  director,  when  he  met  M.  de  Renal  in  society,  gave 
him  the  cold  shoulder.  These  tactics  were  not  without 
cleverness.      There    is   no   impulsiveness   in   the    provinces. 


152       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Sensations  are  so  rare  there  that  they  are  never  allowed  to  be 
wasted. 

M.  le  Valenod  was  what  is  called  a  hundred  miles  from  Paris 
n/araud;  that  means  a  coarse  imprudent  type  of  man.  His 
triumpha  nt  existence  since  1815  had  consolidated  his  natural 
qualities.  He  reigned,  so  to  say,  in  Verrieres  subject  to  the 
orders  of  M.  de  Renal;  but  as  he  was  much  more  energetic, 
was  ashamed  of  nothing,  had  a  finger  in  everything,  and  was 
always  going  about  writing  and  speaking,  and  was  oblivious  of 
all  snubs,  he  had,  although  without  any  personal  pretensions, 
eventually  come  to  equal  the  mayor  in  reputation  in  the  eyes 
of  the  ecclesiastical  authorities.  M.  Valenod  had,  as  it  were, 
said  to  the  local  tradesmen  "  Give  me  the  two  biggest  fools 
among  your  number;"  to  the  men  of  law  "Show  me  the  two 
greatest  dunces ; "  to  the  sanitary  officials  "  Point  out  to  me 
the  two  biggest  charlatans."  When  he  had  thus  collected  the 
most  impudent  members  of  each  separate  calling,  he  had 
practically  said  to  them,  "  Let  us  reign  together." 

The  manners  of  those  people  were  offensive  to  M.  de 
Renal.  The  coarseness  of  Valenod  took  offence  at  nothing, 
not  even  the  frequency  with  which  the  little  abbe  Maslon 
would  give  the  lie  to  him  in  public. 

But  in  the  middle  of  all  this  prosperity  M.  Valenod  found 
it  necessary  to  reassure  himself  by  a  number  of  petty  acts  of 
insolence  on  the  score  of  the  crude  truths  which  he  well 
realised  that  everybody  was  justified  in  addressing  to  him. 
His  activity  had  redoubled  since  the  fears  which  the  visit  of 
M.  Appert  had  left  him.  He  had  made  three  journeys  to 
Besancon.  He  wrote  several  letters  by  each  courier;  he 
sent  others  by  unknown  men  who  came  to  his  house  at  night- 
fall. Perhaps  he  had  been  wrong  in  securing  the  dismissal 
of  the  old  cure  Chelan.  For  this  piece  of  vindictiveness  had 
resulted  in  his  being  considered  an  extremely  malicious  man 
by  several  pious  women  of  good  birth.  Besides,  the  render- 
ing of  this  service  had  placed  him  in  absolute  dependence  on 
M.  the  Grand  Vicar  de  Frilair  from  whom  he  received  some 
strange  commissions.  He  had  reached  this  point  in  his 
intrigues  when  he  had  yielded  to  the  pleasure  of  writing  an 
anonymous  letter,  and  thus  increasing  his  embarrassment.  His 
wife  declared  to  him  that  she  wanted  to  have  Julien  in  her 
house;  her  vanity  was  intoxicated  with  the  idea. 


MANNERS  OF  PROCEDURE  IN  1830  153 

Such  being  his  position  M.  Valenod  imagined  in  advance 
a  decisive  scene  with  his  old  colleague  M.  de  Renal.  The 
latter  might  address  to  him  some  harsh  words,  which  he 
would  not  mind  much ;  but  he  might  write  to  Besancon  and 
even  to  Paris.  Some  minister's  cousin  might  suddenly  fall 
down  on  Verrieres  and  take  over  the  workhouse.  Valenod 
thought  of  coming  to  terms  with  the  Liberals.  It  was  for 
that  purpose  that  several  of  them  had  been  invited  to  the 
dinner  when  Julien  was  present.  He  would  have  obtained 
powerful  support  against  the  mayor  but  the  elections  might 
supervene,  and  it  was  only  too  evident  that  the  directorship 
of  the  workhouse  was  inconsistent  with  voting  on  the  wrong 
side.  Madame  de  Renal  had  made  a  shrewd  guess  at  this 
intrigue,  and  while  she  explained  it  to  Julien  as  he  gave  her 
his  arm  to  pass  from  one  shop  to  another,  they  found  them- 
selves gradually  taken  as  far  as  the  Cours  de  la  Fidelite  where 
they  spent  several  hours  nearly  as  tranquil  as  those  at 
Vergy. 

At  the  same  time  M.  Valenod  was  trying  to  put  off  a  definite 
crisis  with  his  old  patron  by  himself  assuming  the  aggressive. 
These  tactics  succeeded  on  this  particular  day,  but  aggravated 
the  mayor's  bad  temper.  Never  has  vanity  at  close  grips 
with  all  the  harshness  and  meanness  of  a  pettifogging  love  of 
money  reduced  a  man  to  a  more  sorry  condition  than  that 
of  M.  de  Renal  when  he  entered  the  tavern.  The  children, 
on  the  other  hand,  had  never  been  more  joyful  and  more 
merry.     This  contrast  put  the  finishing  touch  on  his  pique. 

"  So  far  as  I  can  see  I  am  not  wanted  in  my  family,"  he 
said  as  he  entered  in  a  tone  which  he  meant  to  be  impressive. 

For  answer,  his  wife  took  him  on  one  side  and  declared 
that  it  was  essential  to  send  Julien  away.  The  hours  of 
happiness  which  she  had  just  enjoyed  had  given  her  again  the 
ease  and  firmness  of  demeanour  necessary  to  follow  out  the 
plan  of  campaign  which  she  had  been  hatching  for  a  fortnight. 
The  finishing  touch  to  the  trouble  of  the  poor  mayor  of 
Verrieres  was  the  fact  that  he  knew  that  they  joked  publicly 
in  the  town  about  his  love  for  cash.  Valenod  was  as  generous 
as  a  thief,  and  on  his  side  had  acquitted  himself  brilliantly  in 
the  last  five  or  six  collections  for  the  Brotherhood  of  St. 
Joseph,  the  congregation  of  the  Virgin,  the  congregation  of 
the  Holy  Sacrament,  etc.,  etc. 


1 54  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

M.  de  Renal's  name  had  been  seen  more  than  once  at  the 
bottom  of  the  list  of  gentlefolk  of  Verrieres,  and  the  surround- 
ing neighbourhood  who  were  adroitly  classified  in  the  list  of 
the  collecting  brethren  according  to  the  amount  of  their 
offerings.  It  was  in  vain  that  he  said  that  he  was  not  making 
money.     The  clergy  stands  no  nonsense  in  such  matters. 


CHAPTER   XXIII 

SORROWS    OF    AN    OFFICIAL 

II  piacere  di  alzar  la  testa  tutto  l'anno,  e  ben  pagato  da 
certi  quarti  d'ora  che  bisogna  passar.  —  Casti. 

Let  us  leave  this  petty  man  to  his  petty  fears ;  why  aid  he 
take  a  man  of  spirit  into  his  household  when  he  needed  some- 
one with  the  soul  of  a  valet?  Why  can't  he  select  his  staff? 
The  ordinary  trend  of  the  nineteenth  century  is  that  when  a 
noble  and  powerful  individual  encounters  a  man  of  spirit,  he 
kills  him,  exiles  him  and  imprisons  him,  or  so  humiliates  him 
that  the  other  is  foolish  enough  to  die  of  grief.  In  this 
country  it  so  happens  that  it  is  not  merely  the  man  of  spirit 
who  suffers.  The  great  misfortunes  of  the  little  towns  of  France 
and  of  representative  governments,  like  that  of  New  York,  is 
that  they  find  it  impossible  to  forget  the  existence  of 
individuals  like  M.  de  Renal.  It  is  these  men  who  make 
public  opinion  in  a  town  of  twenty  thousand  inhabitants,  and 
public  opinion  is  terrible  in  a  country  which  has  a  charter  of 
liberty.  A  man,  though  of  a  naturally  noble  and  generous 
disposition,  who  would  have  been  your  friend  in  the  natural 
course  of  events,  but  who  happens  to  live  a  hundred  leagues 
off,  judges  you  by  the  public  opinion  of  your  town  which  is 
made  by  those  fools  who  have  chanced  to  be  born  noble,  rich 
and  conservative.  Unhappy  is  the  man  who  distinguishes 
himself. 

Immediately  after  dinner  they  left  for  Vergy,  but  the  next 
day  but  one  Julien  saw  the  whole  family  return  to  Verrieres. 
An  hour  had  not  passed  before  he  discovered  to  his  great 
surprise  that  Madame  de  Renal  had  some  mystery  up  her 
sleeve.  Whenever  he  came  into  the  room  she  would  break 
off  her  conversation  with  her  husband  and  would  almost  seem 


156       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

to  desire  that  he  should  go  away.  Julien  did  not  need  to 
be  given  this  hint  twice.  He  became  cold  and  reserved. 
Madame  de  Renal  noticed  it  and  did  not  ask  for  an  explana- 
tion. "  Is  she  going  to  give  me  a  successor,"  thought  Julien. 
"  And  to  think  of  her  being  so  familiar  with  me  the  day  before 
yesterday,  but  that  is  how  these  great  ladies  are  said  to  act. 
It's  just  like  kings.  One  never  gets  any  more  warning  than 
the  disgraced  minister  who  enters  his  house  to  find  his  letter 
of  dismissal."  Julien  noticed  that  these  conversations  which 
left  off  so  abruptly  at  his  approach,  often  dealt  with  a  big 
house  which  belonged  to  the  municipality  of  Verrieres,  a 
house  which  though  old  was  large  and  commodious  and 
situated  opposite  the  church  in  the  most  busy  commercial 
district  of  the  town.  "  What  connection  can  there  be  between 
this  house  and  a  new  lover,"  said  Julien  to  himself.  In  his 
chagrin  he  repeated  to  himself  the  pretty  verses  of  Francis  I. 
which  seemed  novel  to  him,  for  Madame  de  Renal  had  only 
taught  him  them  a  month  before : 

Souvent  femme  varie 
Bien  fol  est  qui  s'y  fie. 

M.  de  Renal  took  the  mail  to  Besancon.  This  journey  was 
a  matter  of  two  hours.  He  seemed  extremely  harassed.  On 
his  return  he  threw  a  big  grey  paper  parcel  on  the  table. 

"  Here's  that  silly  business,"  he  said  to  his  wife.  An  hour 
afterwards  Julien  saw  the  bill-poster  carrying  the  big  parcel. 
He  followed  him  eagerly.  "  I  shall  learn  the  secret  at  the 
first  street  corner."  He  waited  impatiently  behind  the  bill- 
poster who  was  smearing  the  back  of  the  poster  with  his  big 
brush.  It  had  scarcely  been  put  in  its  place  before  Julien's 
curiosity  saw  the  detailed  announcement  of  the  putting  up  for 
public  auction  of  that  big  old  house  whose  name  had  figured 
so  frequently  in  M.  de  Renal's  conversations  with  his  wife. 
The  auction  of  the  lease  was  announced  for  to-morrow  at  two 
o'clock  in  the  Town  Hall  after  the  extinction  of  the  third  fire. 
Julien  was  very  disappointed.  He  found  the  time  a  little 
short.  How  could  there  be  time  to  apprise  all  the  other 
would-be  purchasers.  But,  moreover,  the  bill,  which  was  dated 
a  fortnight  back,  and  which  he  read  again  in  its  entirety  in 
three  distinct  places,  taught  him  nothing. 


SORROWS  OF  AN  OFFICIAL  157 

He  went  to  visit  the  house  which  was  to  let.  The  porter, 
who  had  not  seen  him  approach,  was  saying  mysteriously  to  a 
neighbour : 

"Pooh,  pooh,  waste  of  time.  M.  Maslon  has  promised 
him  that  he  shall  have  it  for  three  hundred  francs ;  and,  as  the 
mayor  kicked,  he  has  been  summoned  to  the  bishop's  palace 
by  M.  the  Grand  Vicar  de  Frilair." 

Julien's  arrival  seemed  very  much  to  disconcert  the  two 
friends  who  did  not  say  another  word.  Julien  made  a  point 
of  being  present  at  the  auction  of  the  lease. 

There  was  a  crowd  in  the  badly-lighted  hall,  but  everybody 
kept  quizzing  each  other  in  quite  a  singular  way.  All  eyes 
were  fixed  on  a  table  where  Julien  perceived  three  little  lighted 
candle-ends  on  a  tin  plate.  The  usher  was  crying  out  "Three 
hundred  francs,  gentlemen." 

"  Three  hundred  francs,  that's  a  bit  too  thick,"  said  a  man 
to  his  neighbour  in  a  low  voice.  Julien  was  between  the  two 
of  them.  "It's  worth  more  than  eight  hundred,  I  will  raise  the 
bidding,"  "  It's  cutting  off  your  nose  to  spite  your  face. 
What  will  you  gain  by  putting  M.  Maslon,  M.  Valenod,  the 
Bishop,  this  terrible  Grand  Vicar  de  Frilair  and  the  whole 
gang  on  your  track." 

"  Three  hundred  and  twenty  francs,"  shouted  out  the  other. 

"  Damned  brute,"  answered  his  neighbour.  "  Why  here 
we  have  a  spy  of  the  mayor,"  he  added,  designating  Julien. 

Julien  turned  sharply  round  to  punish  this  remark,  but  the 
two,  Franc-comtois,  were  no  longer  paying  any  attention  to 
him.  Their  coolness  gave  him  back  his  own.  At  that  moment 
the  last  candle-end  went  out  and  the  usher's  drawling  voice 
awarded  the  house  to  M.  de  St.  Giraud  of  the  office  of  the 

prefecture  of for  a  term  of  nine  years  and  for  a  rent  of 

320  francs. 

As  soon  as  the  mayor  had  left  the  hall,  the  gossip  began  again. 

"  Here's  thirty  francs  that  Grogeot's  recklessness  is  landing 
the  municipality  in  for,"  said  one — "  But,"  answered  another, 
"  M.  de  Saint  Giraud  will  revenge  himself  on  Grogeot." 

"How  monstrous,"  said  a  big  man  on  Julien's  left.  "A 
house  which  I  myself  would  have  given  eight  hundred  francs 
for  my  factory,  and  I  would  have  got  a  good  bargain." 

"  Pooh  ! "  answered  a  young  manufacturer,  "  doesn't  M.  de 
St.   Giraud  belong  to  the  congregation?     Haven't  his  four 


158       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

children  got  scholarships  ?  poor  man !  The  community  of 
Verrieres  must  give  him  five  hundred  francs  over  and  above 
his  salary,  that  is  all." 

"And  to  say  that  the  mayor  was  not  able  to  stop  it," 
remarked  a  third.  "  For  he's  an  ultra  he  is,  I'm  glad  to  say, 
but  he  doesn't  steal." 

"  Doesn't  he  ?  "  answered  another.  "  Suppose  it's  simply 
a  mere  game  of  '  snap '  *  then.  Everything  goes  into  a  big 
common  purse,  and  everything  is  divided  up  at  the  end  of 
the  year.     But  here's  that  little  Sorel,  let's  go  away." 

Julien  got  home  in  a  very  bad  temper.  He  found  Madame 
de  Renal  very  sad. 

"You  come  from  the  auction  ?  "  she  said  to  him. 
"  Yes,  madam,  where  I  had  the  honour  of  passing  for  a  spy 
of  M.  the  Mayor." 

"  If  he  had  taken  my  advice,  he  would  have  gone  on  a 
journey." 

At  this  moment  Monsieur  de  Renal  appeared  :  he  looked 
very  dismal.  The  dinner  passed  without  a  single  word. 
Monsieur  de  Renal  ordered  Julien  to  follow  the  children  to 
Vergy. 

Madame  de  Renal  endeavoured  to  console  her  husband. 
"  You  ought  to  be  used  to  it,  my  dear." 
That  evening  they  were  seated  in  silence  around  the 
domestic  hearth.  The  crackle  of  the  burnt  pinewood  was 
their  only  distraction.  It  was  one  of  those  moments  of  silence 
which  happen  in  the  most  united  families.  One  of  the 
children  cried  out  gaily, 

"  Somebody's  ringing,  somebody's  ringing  !  " 
"  Zounds  !  supposing  it's  Monsieur  de  Saint  Giraud  who  has 
come  under  the  pretext  of  thanking  me,"  exclaimed  the  mayor. 
"  I  will  give  him  a  dressing  down.  It  is  outrageous.  It  is 
Valenod  to  whom  he'll  feel  under  an  obligation,  and  it  is  I 
who  get  compromised.  What  shall  I  say  if  those  damned 
Jacobin  journalists  get  hold  of  this  anecdote,  and  turn  me 
into  a  M.  Nonante  Cinque." 

A  very  good-looking  man,  with  big  black  whiskers,  entered 
at  this  moment,  preceded  by  the  servant. 

"  Monsieur  the  mayor,  I  am  Signor  Geronimo.     Here  is  a 

*  C'est  pigeon  qui  vole.     A  reference  to  a  contemporary  animal  game 
with  a  pun  on  the  word  "  vole." 


SORROWS  OF  AN  OFFICIAL  159 

letter  which  M.  the  Chevalier  de  Beauvaisis,  who  is  attached 
to  the  Embassy  of  Naples,  gave  me  for  you  on  my  departure. 
That  is  only  nine  days  ago,  added  Signor  Geronimo,  gaily 
looking  at  Madame  de  Renal.  Your  cousin,  and  my  good 
friend,  Signor  de  Beauvaisis  says  that  you  know  Italian, 
Madame." 

The  Neapolitan's  good  humour  changed  this  gloomy  even- 
ing into  a  very  gay  one.  Madame  de  Renal  insisted  upon 
giving  him  supper.  She  put  the  whole  house  on  the  go.  She 
wanted  to  free  Julien  at  any  price  from  the  imputation  of 
espionage  which  she  had  heard  already  twice  that  day. 

Signor  Geronimo  was  an  excellent  singer,  excellent  company, 
and  had  very  gay  qualities  which,  at  any  rate  in  France,  are 
hardly  compatible  with  each  other.  After  dinner  he  sang  a 
little  duet  with  Madame  de  Renal,  and  told  some  charming 
tales.  At  one  o'clock  in  the  morning  the  children  protested, 
when  Julien  suggested  that  they  should  go  to  bed. 

"  Another  of  those  stories,"  said  the  eldest. 

"  It  is  my  own,  Signorino,"  answered  Signor  Geronimo. 

"Eight  years  ago  I  was,  like  you,  a  young  pupil  of  the 
Naples  Conservatoire.  I  mean  I  was  your  age,  but  I  did  not 
have  the  honour  to  be  the  son  of  the  distinguished  mayor  of 
the  pretty  town  of  Verrieres."  This  phrase  made  M.  de  Renal 
sigh,  and  look  at  his  wife. 

"  Signor  Zingarelli,"  continued  the  young  singer,  somewhat 
exaggerating  his  action,  and  thus  making  the  children  burst 
into  laughter,  "Signor  Zingarelli  was  an  excellent  though 
severe  master.  He  is,  not  popular  at  the  Conservatoire,  but 
he  insists  on  the  pretence  being  kept  up  that  he  is.  I  went 
out  as  often  as  I  could.  I  used  to  go  to  the  little  Theatre  de 
San  Carlino,  where  I  used  to  hear  divine  music.  But  heavens  ! 
the  question  was  to  scrape  together  the  eight  sous  which  were 
the  price  of  admission  to  the  parterre  ?  An  enormous  sum," 
he  said,  looking  at  the  children  and  watching  them  laugh. 
"Signor  Giovannone,  director  of  the  San  Carlino,  heard 
me  sing.  I  was  sixteen.  'That  child  is  a  treasure,'  he 
said. 

" '  Would  you  like  me  to  engage  you,  my  dear  boy  ? '  he 
said. 

"  •  And  how  much  will  you  give  me  ? ' 

"  *  Forty  ducats  a  month.'     That  is  one  hundred  and  sixty 


160       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

francs,  gentlemen.  I  thought  the  gates  of  heaven  had 
opened. 

" '  But,'  I  said  to  Giovannone,  '  how  shall  I  get  the  strict 
Zingarelli  to  let  me  go  out  ? ' 

"  ' Lascia  fare  a  me? " 

"  Leave  it  to  me,"  exclaimed  the  eldest  of  the  children. 

"  Quite  right,  my  young  sir.  Signor  Giovannone  he  says  to 
me,  '  First  sign  this  little  piece  of  paper,  my  dear  friend.'  I 
sign. 

"  He  gives  me  three  ducats.  I  had  never  seen  so  much 
money.     Then  he  told  me  what  I  had  to  do. 

"  Next  day  I  asked  the  terrible  Zingarelli  for  an  audience. 
His  old  valet  ushered  me  in. 

" '  What  do  you  want  of  me,  you  naughty  boy  ? '  said 
Zingarelli. 

"  '  Maestro,'  I  said,  '  I  repent  of  all  my  faults.  I  will  never 
go  out  of  the  Conservatoire  by  passing  through  the  iron  grill. 
I  will  redouble  my  diligence.' 

"  '  If  I  were  not  frightened  of  spoiling  the  finest  bass  voice 
I  have  ever  heard,  I  would  put  you  in  prison  for  a  fortnight 
on  bread  and  water,  you  rascal.' 

" '  Maestro,'  I  answered,  '  I  will  be  the  model  boy  of  the 
whole  school,  credete  a  me,  but  I  would  ask  one  favour  of  you. 
If  anyone  comes  and  asks  permission  for  me  to  sing  outside, 
refuse.     As  a  favour,  please  say  that  you  cannot  let  me.' 

" '  And  who  the  devil  do  you  think  is  going  to  ask  for  a 
ne'er-do-well  like  you  ?  Do  you  think  I  should  ever  allow  you 
to  leave  the  Conservatoire?  Do  you  want  to  make  fun  of 
me  ?  Clear  out !  Clear  out ! '  he  said,  trying  to  give  me  a 
kick,  •  or  look  out  for  prison  and  dry  bread.' " 

One  thing  astonished  Julien.  The  solitary  weeks  passed  at 
Verrieres  in  de  Renal's  house  had  been  a  period  of  happiness 
for  him.  He  had  only  experienced  revulsions  and  sad  thoughts 
at  the  dinners  to  which  he  had  been  invited.  And  was  he 
not  able  to  read,  write  and  reflect,  without  being  distracted,  in 
this  solitary  house  ?  He  was  not  distracted  every  moment 
from  his  brilliant  reveries  by  the  cruel  necessity  of  studying 
the  movement  of  a  false  soul  in  order  to  deceive  it  by  intrigue 
and  hypocrisy. 

"  To  think  of  happiness  being  so  near  to  me — the 
expense  of  a  life  like  that  is  small  enough.     I  could  have  my 


SORROWS  OF  AN  OFFICIAL  161 

choice  of  either  marrying  Mademoiselle  Elisa  or  of  entering 
into  partnership  with  Fouque.  But  it  is  only  the  traveller  who 
has  just  scaled  a  steep  mountain  and  sits  down  on  the  summit 
who  finds  a  perfect  pleasure  in  resting.  Would  he  be  happy 
if  he  had  to  rest  all  the  time  ?  " 

Madame  de  Renal's  mind  had  now  reached  a  state  of 
desperation.  In  spite  of  her  resolutions,  she  had  explained  to 
Julien  all  the  details  of  the  auction.  "  He  will  make  me 
forget  all  my  oaths  ! "  she  thought. 

She  would  have  sacrificed  her  life  without  hesitation  to  save 
that  of  her  husband  if  she  had  seen  him  in  danger.  She  was 
one  of  those  noble,  romantic  souls  who  find  a  source  of 
perpetual  remorse  equal  to  that  occasioned  by  the  actual 
perpetration  of  a  crime,  in  seeing  the  possibility  of  a  generous 
action  and  not  doing  it.  None  the  less,  there  were  deadly 
days  when  she  was  not  able  to  banish  the  imagination  of  the 
excessive  happiness  which  she  would  enjoy  if  she  suddenly 
became  a  widow,  and  were  able  to  marry  julien. 

He  loved  her  sons  much  more  than  their  father  did ;  in  spite 
of  his  strict  justice  they  were  devoted  to  him.  She  quite 
realised  that  if  she  married  Julien,  it  would  be  necessary  to 
leave  that  Vergy,  whose  shades  were  so  dear  to  her.  She 
pictured  herself  living  at  Paris,  and  continuing  to  give  her 
sons  an  education  which  would  make  them  admired  by  every- 
one. Her  children,  herself,  and  Julien !  They  would  be  all 
perfectly  happy ! 

Strange  result  of  marriage  such  as  the  nineteenth  century 
has  made  it !  The  boredom  of  matrimonial  life  makes  love 
fade  away  inevitably,  when  love  has  preceded  the  marriage. 
But  none  the  less,  said  a  philosopher,  married  life  soon  reduces 
those  people  who  are  sufficiently  rich  not  to  have  to  work,  to 
a  sense  of  being  utterly  bored  by  all  quiet  enjoyments.  And 
among  women,  it  is  only  arid  souls  whom  it  does  not  pre- 
dispose to  love. 

The  philosopher's  reflection  makes  me  excuse  Madame  de 
Renal,  but  she  was  not  excused  in  Verrieres,  and  without  her 
suspecting  it,  the  whole  town  found  its  sole  topic  of  interest  in 
the  scandal  of  her  intrigue.  As  a  result  of  this  great  affair, 
the  autumn  was  less  boring  than  usual. 

The  autumn  and  part  of  the  winter  passed  very  quickly.  It 
was  necessary  to  leave  the  woods  of  Vergy.     Good  Verrieres 

ii 


i6*  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

society  began  to  be  indignant  at  the  fact  that  its  anathemas 
made  so  little  impression  on  Monsieur  de  Renal.  Within 
eight  days,  several  serious  personages  who  made  up  for  their 
habitual  gravity  of  demeanour  by  their  pleasure  in  fulfilling 
missions  of  this  kind,  gave  him  the  most  cruel  suspicions,  at 
the  same  time  utilising  the  most  measured  terms. 

M.  Valenod,  who  was  playing  a  deep  game,  had  placed  Elisa 
in  an  aristocratic  family  of  great  repute,  where  there  were  five 
women.  Elisa,  fearing,  so  she  said,  not  to  find  a  place  during 
the  winter,  had  only  asked  from  this  family  about  two-thirds  of 
what  she  had  received  in  the  house  of  the  mayor.  The  girl 
hit  upon  the  excellent  idea  of  going  to  confession  at  the  same 
time  to  both  the  old  cure  Chelan,  and  also  to  the  new  one,  so 
as  to  tell  both  of  them  in  detail  about  Julien's  amours. 

The  day  after  his  arrival,  the  abbe  Chelan  summoned  Julien 
to  him  at  six  o'clock  in  the  morning. 

"  I  ask  you  nothing,"  he  said.  "  I  beg  you,  and  if  needs 
be  I  insist,  that  you  either  leave  for  the  Seminary  of  Besancon, 
or  for  your  friend  Fouque,  who  is  always  ready  to  provide  you 
with  a  splendid  future.  I  have  seen  to  everything  and  have 
arranged  everything,  but  you  must  leave,  and  not  come  back 
to  Verrieres  for  a  year." 

Julien  did  not  answer.  He  was  considering  whether  his 
honour  ought  to  regard  itself  offended  at  the  trouble  which 
Chelan,  who,  after  all,  was  not  his  father,  had  taken  on  his 
behalf. 

"  I  shall  have  the  honour  of  seeing  you  again  to-morrow  at 
the  same  hour,"  he  said  finally  to  the  cure. 

Chelan,  who  reckoned  on  carrying  so  young  a  man  by 
storm,  talked  a  great  deal.  Julien,  cloaked  in  the  most 
complete  humbleness,  both  of  demeanour  and  expression,  did 
not  open  his  lips. 

Eventually  he  left,  and  ran  to  warn  Madame  de  Renal 
whom  he  found  in  despair.  Her  husband  had  just  spoken  to 
her  with  a  certain  amount  of  frankness.  The  weakness  of  his 
character  found  support  in  the  prospect  of  the  legacy,  and  had 
decided  him  to  treat  her  as  perfectly  innocent.  He  had  just 
confessed  to  her  the  strange  state  in  which  he  had  found 
public  opinion  in  Verrieres.  The  public  was  wrong ;  it  had 
been  misled  by  jealous  tongues.  But,  after  all,  what  was  one 
to  do? 


SORROWS  OF  AN  OFFICIAL  163 

Madame  de  Renal  was,  for  the  moment,  under  the  illusion 
that  Julien  would  accept  the  offer  of  Valenod  and  stay  at 
Verrieres.  But  she  was  no  longer  the  simple,  timid  woman 
that  she  had  been  the  preceding  year.  Her  fatal  passion  and 
remorse  had  enlightened  her.  She  soon  realised  the  painful 
truth  (while  at  the  same  time  she  listened  to  her  husband), 
that  at  any  rate  a  temporary  separation  had  become  essential. 

When  he  is  far  from  me,  Julien  will  revert  to  those 
ambitious  projects  which  are  so  natural  when  one  has  no 
money.  And  I,  Great  God  !  I  am  so  rich,  and  my  riches 
are  so  useless  for  my  happiness.  He  will  forget  me.  Love- 
able  as  he  is,  he  will  be  loved,  and  he  will  love.  You  unhappy 
woman.  What  can  I  complain  of  ?  Heaven  is  just.  I  was 
not  virtuous  enough  to  leave  off  the  crime.  Fate  robs  me  of 
my  judgment.  I  could  easily  have  bribed  Elisa  if  I  had 
wanted  to  ;  nothing  was  easier.  I  did  not  take  the  trouble  to 
reflect  for  a  moment.  The  mad  imagination  of  love  absorbed 
all  my  time.     I  am  ruined. 

When  Julien  apprised  Madame  de  Renal  of  the  terrible 
news  of  his  departure,  he  was  struck  with  one  thing.  He  did 
not  find  her  put  forward  any  selfish  objections.  She  was 
evidently  making  efforts  not  to  cry. 

"We  have  need  of  firmness,  my  dear."  She  cut  off  a 
strand  of  her  hair.  "  I  do  no  know  what  I  shall  do,"  she 
said  to  him,  "  but  promise  me  if  I  die,  never  to  forget  my 
children.  Whether  you  are  far  or  near,  try  to  make  them 
into  honest  men.  If  there  is  a  new  revolution,  all  the  nobles 
will  have  their  throats  cut.  Their  father  will  probably  emigrate, 
because  of  that  peasant  on  the  roof  who  got  killed.  Watch 
over  my  family.  Give  me  your  hand.  Adieu,  my  dear. 
These  are  our  last  moments.  Having  made  this  great  sacrifice, 
I  hope  I  shall  have  the  courage  to  consider  my  reputation  in 
public." 

Julien  had  been  expecting  despair.  The  simplicity  of  this 
farewell  touched  him. 

"  No,  I  am  not  going  to  receive  your  farewell  like  this.  I 
will  leave  you  now,  as  you  yourself  wish  it.  But  three  days 
after  my  departure  I  will  come  back  to  see  you  at  night." 

Madame  de  Renal's  life  was  changed.  So  Julien  really 
loved  her,  since  of  his  own  accord  he  had  thought  of  seeing 
her  again.     Her  awful  grief  became  changed  into  one  of  the 


164       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

keenest  transports  of  joy  which  she  had  felt  in  her  whole  life. 
Everything  became  easy  for  her.  The  certainty  of  seeing 
her  lover  deprived  these  last  moments  of  their  poignancy. 
From  that  moment,  both  Madame  de  Renal's  demeanour  and 
the  expression  of  her  face  were  noble,  firm,  and  perfectly 
dignified. 

M.  de  Renal  soon  came  back.  He  was  beside  himself. 
He  eventually  mentioned  to  his  wife  the  anonymous  letter 
which  he  had  received  two  months  before. 

"  I  will  take  it  to  the  Casino,  and  shew  everybody  that  it 
has  been  sent  by  that  brute  Valenod,  whom  I  took  out  of  the 
gutter  and  made  into  one  of  the  richest  tradesmen  in  Verrieres. 
I  will  disgrace  him  publicly,  and  then  I  will  fight  him.  This 
is  too  much." 

"  Great  Heavens !  I  may  become  a  widow,"  thought 
Madame  de  Renal,  and  almost  at  the  same  time  she  said  to 
herself, 

"  If  I  do  not,  as  I  certainly  can,  prevent  this  duel,  I  shall  be 
the  murderess  of  my  own  husband." 

She  had  never  expended  so  much  skill  in  honoring  his 
vanity.  Within  two  hours  she  made  him  see,  and  always  by 
virtue  of  reasons  which  he  discovered  himself,  that  it  was 
necessary  to  show  more  friendship  than  ever  to  M.  Valenod, 
and  even  to  take  Elisa  back  into  the  household. 

Madame  de  Renal  had  need  of  courage  to  bring  herself  to 
see  again  the  girl  who  was  the  cause  of  her  unhappiness. 
But  this  idea  was  one  of  Julien's.  Finally,  having  been  put 
on  the  track  three  or  four  times,  M.  de  Renal  arrived  spon- 
taneously at  the  conclusion,  disagreeable  though  it  was  from 
the  financial  standpoint,  that  the  most  painful  thing  that  could 
happen  to  him  would  be  that  Julien,  in  the  middle  of  the 
effervescence  of  popular  gossip  throughout  Verrieres,  should 
stay  in  the  town  as  the  tutor  of  Valenod's  children.  It  was 
obviously  to  Julien's  interest  to  accept  the  offer  of  the  director 
of  the  workhouse.  Conversely,  it  was  essential  for  M.  de 
Renal's  prestige  that  Julien  should  leave  Verrieres  to  enter  the 
seminary  of  Besancon  or  that  of  Dijon.  But  how  to  make 
him  decide  on  that  course?  And  then  how  is  he  going  to 
live? 

M.  de  Renal,  seeing  a  monetary  sacrifice  looming  in  the 
distance,  was  in  deeper  despair  than  his  wife.      As  for  her, 


SORROWS  OF  AN  OFFICIAL  165 

she  felt  after  this  interview  in  the  position  of  a  man  of  spirit 
who,  tired  of  life,  has  taken  a  dose  of  stramonium.  He  only 
acts  mechanically  so  to  speak,  and  takes  no  longer  any  interest 
in  anything.  In  this  way,  Louis  XIV.  came  to  say  on  his 
deathbed,  "  When  I  was  king."     An  admirable  epigram. 

Next  morning,  M.  de  Renal  received  quite  early  an  anony- 
mous letter.  It  was  written  in  a  most  insulting  style,  and  the 
coarsest  words  applicable  to  his  position  occurred  on  every 
line.  It  was  the  work  of  some  jealous  subordinate.  This 
letter  made  him  think  again  of  fighting  a  duel  with  Valenod. 
Soon  his  courage  went  as  far  as  the  idea  of  immediate  action. 
He  left  the  house  alone,  went  to  the  armourer's  and  got  some 
pistols  which  he  loaded. 

"  Yes,  indeed,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  even  though  the  strict 
administration  of  the  Emperor  Napoleon  were  to  become 
fashionable  again,  I  should  not  have  one  sou's  worth  of  jobbery 
to  reproach  myself  with ;  at  the  outside,  I  have  shut  my  eyes, 
and  I  have  some  good  letters  in  my  desk  which  authorise  me 
to  do  so. 

Madame  de  Renal  was  terrified  by  her  husband's  cold  anger. 
It  recalled  to  her  the  fatal  idea  of  widowhood  which  she  had 
so  much  trouble  in  repelling.  She  closeted  herself  with  him. 
For  several  hours  she  talked  to  him  in  vain.  The  new  anony- 
mous letter  had  decided  him.  Finally  she  succeeded  in  trans- 
forming the  courage  which  had  decided  him  to  box  Valenod's 
ears,  into  the  courage  of  offering  six  hundred  francs  to  Julien, 
which  would  keep  him  for  one  year  in  a  seminary. 

M.  de  Renal  cursed  a  thousand  times  the  day  that  he  had 
had  the  ill-starred  idea  of  taking  a  tutor  into  his  house,  and 
forgot  the  anonymous  letter. 

He  consoled  himself  a  little  by  an  idea  which  he  did  not 
tell  his  wife.  With  the  exercise  of  some  skill,  and  by  ex- 
ploiting the  romantic  ideas  of  the  young  man,  he  hoped  to  be 
able  to  induce  him  to  refuse  M.  Valenod's  offer  at  a  cheaper 
price. 

Madame  de  Renal  had  much  more  trouble  in  proving  to 
Julien  that  inasmuch  as  he  was  sacrificing  the  post  of  six 
hundred  francs  a  year  in  order  to  enable  her  husband  to  keep 
up  appearances,  he  need  have  no  shame  about  accepting  the 
compensation.  But  Julien  would  say  each  time,  "  I  have 
never  thought  for  a  moment  of  accepting  that  offer.      You 


1 66  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

have  made  me  so  used  to  a  refined  life  that  the  coarseness  of 
those  people  would  kill  me." 

Cruel  necessity  bent  Julien's  will  with  its  iron  hand.  His 
pride  gave  him  the  illusion  that  he  only  accepted  the  sum 
offered  by  M.  de  Renal  as  a  loan,  and  induced  him  to  give 
him  a  promissory  note,  repayable  in  five  years  with  interest. 

Madame  de  Renal  had,  of  course,  many  thousands  of  francs 
which  had  been  concealed  in  the  little  mountain  cave. 

She  offered  them  to  him  all  a  tremble,  feeling  only  too  keenly 
that  they  would  be  angrily  refused. 

"  Do  you  wish,"  said  Julien  to  her,  "  to  make  the  memory 
of  our  love  loathsome  ?  " 

Finally  Julien  left  Verrieres.  M.  de  Renal  was  very  happy, 
but  when  the  fatal  moment  came  to  accept  money  from  him 
the  sacrifice  proved  beyond  Julien's  strength.  He  refused 
point  blank.  M.  de  Renal  embraced  him  around  the  neck 
with  tears  in  his  eyes.  Julien  had  asked  him  for  a  testimonial 
of  good  conduct,  and  his  enthusiasm  could  find  no  terms 
magnificent  enough  in  which  to  extol  his  conduct. 

Our  hero  had  five  louis  of  savings  and  he  reckoned  on  ask- 
ing Fouque  for  an  equal  sum. 

He  was  very  moved.  But  one  league  from  Verrieres,  where 
he  left  so  much  that  was  dear  to  him,  he  only  thought  of  the 
happiness  of  seeing  the  capital  of  a  great  military  town  like 
Besancon. 

During  the  short  absence  of  three  days,  Madame  de  Renal 
was  the  victim  of  one  of  the  cruellest  deceptions  to  which  love 
is  liable.  Her  life  was  tolerable,  because  between  her  and 
extreme  unhappiness  there  was  still  that  last  interview  which 
she  was  to  have  with  Julien. 

Finally  during  the  night  of  the  third  day,  she  heard  from 
a  distance  the  preconcerted  signal.  Julien,  having  passed 
through  a  thousand  dangers,  appeared  before  her.  In  this 
moment  she  only  had  one  thought — "  I  see  him  for  the  last 
time."  Instead  of  answering  the  endearments  of  her  lover, 
she  seemed  more  dead  than  alive.  If  she  forced  herself 
to  tell  him  that  she  loved  him,  she  said  it  with  an  em- 
barrassed air  which  almost  proved  the  contrary.  Nothing 
could  rid  her  of  the  cruel  idea  of  eternal  separation. 
The  suspicious  Julien  thought  for  the  moment  that  he  was 
already  forgotten.      His  pointed  remarks  to  this  effect  were 


SORROWS  OF  AN  OFFICIAL  167 

only  answered  by  great  tears  which  flowed  down  in  silence, 
and  by  some  hysterical  pressings  of  the  hand. 

"  But,"  Julien  would  answer  his  mistress's  cold  pro- 
testations, "  Great  Heavens !  How  can  you  expect  me  to 
believe  you?  You  would  show  one  hundred  times  more 
sincere  affection  to  Madame  Derville  to  a  mere  acquaintance." 

Madame  de  Renal  was  petrified,  and  at  a  loss  for  an  answer. 

"  It  is  impossible  to  be  more  unhappy.  I  hope  I  am  going 
to  die.     I  feel  my  heart  turn  to  ice." 

Those  were  the  longest  answers  which  he  could  obtain. 

When  the  approach  of  day  rendered  it  necessary  for  him 
to  leave  Madame  de  Renal,  her  tears  completely  ceased.  She 
saw  him  tie  a  knotted  rope  to  the  window  without  saying  a 
word,  and  without  returning  her  kisses.  It  was  in  vain  that 
Julien  said  to  her. 

"  So  now  we  have  reached  the  state  of  affairs  which  you 
wished  for  so  much.  Henceforward  you  will  live  without 
remorse.  The  slightest  indisposition  of  your  children  will  no 
longer  make  you  see  them  in  the  tomb." 

"  I  am  sorry  that  you  cannot  kiss  Stanislas,"  she  said 
coldly. 

Julien  finished  by  being  profoundly  impressed  by  the  cold 
embraces  of  this  living  corpse.  He  could  think  of  nothing 
else  for  several  leagues.  His  soul  was  overwhelmed,  and 
before  passing  the  mountain,  and  while  he  could  still  see  the 
church  tower  of  Verrieres  he  turned  round  frequently. 


CHAPTER  XXIV 


A    CAPITAL 


What  a  noise,  what  busy  people  I     What  ideas  for  the  future  in  a 
brain  of  twenty  !     What  distraction  offered  by  love.  — Barnave. 

Finally  he  saw  some  black  walls  near  a  distant  mountain.  It 
was  the  citadel  of  Besancon.  "  How  different  it  would  be  for 
me,"  he  said  with  a  sigh,  "  if  I  were  arriving  at  this  noble 
military  town  to  be  sub-lieutenant  in  one  of  the  regiments 
entrusted  with  its  defence."  Besancon  is  not  only  one  of  the 
prettiest  towns  in  France,  it  abounds  in  people  of  spirit  and 
brains.  But  Julien  was  only  a  little  peasant,  and  had  no  means 
of  approaching  distinguished  people. 

He  had  taken  a  civilian  suit  at  Fouque's,  and  it  was  in  this 
dress  that  he  passed  the  drawbridge.  Steeped  as  he  was 
in  the  history  of  the  siege  of  1674,  he  wished  to  see  the 
ramparts  of  the  citadel  before  shutting  himself  up  in  the 
seminary.  He  was  within  an  ace  two  or  three  times  of  getting 
himself  arrested  by  the  sentinel.  He  was  penetrating  into 
places  which  military  genius  forbids  the  public  to  enter,  in 
order  to  sell  twelve  or  fifteen  francs  worth  of  corn  every  year. 

The  height  of  the  walls,  the  depth  of  the  ditches,  the  terrible 
aspect  of  the  cannons  had  been  engrossing  him  for  several  hours 
when  he  passed  before  the  great  cafe  on  the  boulevard.  He 
was  motionless  with  wonder ;  it  was  in  vain  that  he  read  the 
word  caf,  written  in  big  characters  above  the  two  immense 
doors.  He  could  not  believe  his  eyes.  He  made  an  effort 
to  overcome  his  timidity.  He  dared  to  enter,  and  found  him- 
self in  a  hall  twenty  or  thirty  yards  long,  and  with  a  ceiling  at 
least  twenty  feet  high.  To-day,  everything  had  a  fascination 
for  him. 

Two  games  of  billiards  were  in  progress.  The  waiters  were 
crying  out  the  scores.     The  players  ran  round  the  tables  en- 


A  CAPITAL  169 

cumbered  by  spectators.  Clouds  of  tobacco  smoke  came 
from  everybody's  mouth,  and  enveloped  them  in  a  blue  haze. 
The  high  stature  of  these  men,  their  rounded  shoulders,  their 
heavy  gait,  their  enormous  whiskers,  the  long  tailed  coats 
which  covered  them,  everything  combined  to  attract  Julien's 
attention.  These  noble  childen  of  the  antique  Bisontium 
only  spoke  at  the  top  of  their  voice.  They  gave  themselves 
terrible  martial  airs.  Julien  stood  still  and  admired  them. 
He  kept  thinking  of  the  immensity  and  magnificence  of  a 
great  capital  like  Besancon.  He  felt  absolutely  devoid  of  the 
requisite  courage  to  ask  one  of  those  haughty  looking  gentle- 
men, who  were  crying  out  the  billiard  scores,  for  a  cup  of 
coffee. 

But  the  young  lady  at  the  bar  had  noticed  the  charming 
face  of  this  young  civilian  from  the  country,  who  had  stopped 
three  feet  from  the  stove  with  his  little  parcel  under  his  arm, 
and  was  looking  at  the  fine  white  plaster  bust  of  the  king. 
This  young  lady,  a  big  Franc-comtoise,  very  well  made,  and 
dressed  with  the  elegance  suitable  to  the  prestige  of  the  cafe, 
had  already  said  two  or  three  times  in  a  little  voice  not  in- 
tended to  be  heard  by  any  one  except  Julien,  "  Monsieur, 
Monsieur."  Julien's  eyes  encountered  big  blue  eyes  full  of 
tenderness,  and  saw  that  he  was  the  person  who  was  being 
spoken  to. 

He  sharply  approached  the  bar  and  the  pretty  girl,  as 
though  he  had  been  marching  towards  the  enemy.  In  this 
great  manoeuvre  the  parcel  fell. 

What  pity  will  not  our  provincial  inspire  in  the  young  lycee 
scholars  of  Paris,  who,  at  the  early  age  of  fifteen,  know  already 
how  to  enter  a  cafe  with  so  distinguished  an  air  ?  But  these 
children  who  have  such  style  at  fifteen  turn  commonplace  at 
eighteen.  The  impassioned  timidity  which  is  met  with  in  the 
provinces,  sometimes  manages  to  master  its  own  nervousness, 
and  thus  trains  the  will.  "  I  must  tell  her  the  truth,"  thought 
Julien,  who  was  becoming  courageous  by  dint  of  conquering 
his  timidity  as  he  approached  this  pretty  girl,  who  deigned 
to  address  him. 

"  Madame,  this  is  the  first  time  in  my  life  that  I  have  come 
to  Besancon.  I  should  like  to  have  some  bread  and  a  cup  of 
coffee  in  return  for  payment." 

The  young  lady  smiled  a  little,  and  then  blushed.      She 


170  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

feared  the  ironic  attention  and  the  jests  of  the  billiard  players 
might  be  turned  against  this  pretty  young  man.  He  would 
be  frightened  and  would  not  appear  there  again. 

"  Sit  here  near  me,"  she  said  to  him,  showing  him  a  marble 
table  almost  completely  hidden  by  the  enormous  mahogany 
counter  which  extended  into  the  hall. 

The  young  lady  leant  over  the  counter,  and  had  thus  an 
opportunity  of  displaying  a  superb  figure.  Julien  noticed  it. 
All  his  ideas  changed.  The  pretty  young  lady  had  just  placed 
before  him  a  cup,  some  sugar,  and  a  little  roll.  She  hesitated 
to  call  a  waiter  for  the  coffee,  as  she  realised  that  his  arrival 
would  put  an  end  to  her  tete-a-tete  with  Jul  en 

Julien  was  pensively  comparing  this  blonde  and  merry 
beauty  with  certain  memories  which  would  often  thrill  him. 
The  thought  of  the  passion  of  which  he  had  been  the  object, 
nearly  freed  him  from  all  his  timidity.  The  pretty  young 
woman  had  only  one  moment  to  save  the  situation.  She  read 
it  in  Julien's  looks. 

"This  pipe  smoke  makes  you  cough;  come  and  have 
breakfast  to-morrow  before  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning.  I 
am  practically  alone  then." 

"  What  is  your  name  ?  "  said  Julien,  with  the  caressing  smile 
of  happy  timidity. 

"Amanda  Binet." 

"Will  you  allow  me  to  send  you  within  an  hour's  time  a 
little  parcel  about  as  big  as  this  ?  " 

The  beautiful  Amanda  reflected  a  little. 

"  I  am  watched.  What  you  ask  may  compromise  me.  All 
the  same,  I  will  write  my  address  on  a  card,  which  you  will 
put  on  your  parcel.     Send  it  boldly  to  me." 

"  My  name  is  Julien  Sorel,"  said  the  young  man.  "  I  have 
neither  relatives  nor  acquaintances  at  Besancon." 

"  Ah,  I  understand,"  she  said  joyfully.  "  You  come  to 
study  law." 

"  Alas,  no,"  answered  Julien,  "  I  am  being  sent  to  the 
Seminary." 

The  most  complete  discouragement  damped  Amanda's 
features.  She  called  a  waiter.  She  had  courage  now.  The 
waiter  poured  out  some  coffee  for  Julien  without  looking 
at  him. 

Amanda  was  receiving  money  at  the  counter.     Julien  was 


A  CAPITAL  171 

proud  of  having  dared  to  speak :  a  dispute  was  going  on  at 
one  of  the  billiard  tables.  The  cries  and  the  protests  of  the 
players  resounded  over  the  immense  hall,  and  made  a  din 
which  astonished  Julien.  Amanda  was  dreamy,  and  kept  her 
eyes  lowered. 

"  If  you  like,  Mademoiselle,"  he  said  to  her  suddenly  with 
assurance,  "  I  will  say  that  I  am  your  cousin." 

This  little  air  of  authority  pleased  Amanda.  "  He's  not  a 
mere  nobody,"  she  thought.  She  spoke  to  him  very  quickly, 
without  looking  at  him,  because  her  eye  was  occupied  in  seeing 
if  anybody  was  coming  near  the  counter. 

"  I  come  from  Genlis,  near  Dijon.  Say  that  you  are  also 
from  Genlis  and  are  my  mother's  cousin." 

"  I  shall  not  fail  to  do  so." 

"  All  the  gentlemen  who  go  to  the  Seminary  pass  here  before 
the  cafe  every  Thursday  in  the  summer  at  five  o'clock." 

"  If  you  think  of  me  when  I  am  passing,  have  a  bunch  of 
violets  in  your  hand." 

Amanda  looked  at  him  with  an  astonished  air.  This  look 
changed  Julien's  courage  into  audacity.  Nevertheless,  he 
reddened  considerably,  as  he  said  to  her.  "  I  feel  that  I  love 
you  with  the  most  violent  love." 

"  Speak  in  lower  tones,"  she  said  to  him  with  a  frightened 
air. 

Julien  was  trying  to  recollect  phrases  out  of  a  volume  of 
the  Nouvelle  Heloise  which  he  had  found  at  Vergy.  His 
memory  served  him  in  good  stead.  For  ten  minutes  he 
recited  the  Nouville  Heloise  to  the  delighted  Mademoiselle 
Amanda.  He  was  happy  on  the  strength  of  his  own  bravery, 
when  suddenly  the  beautiful  Franc-contoise  assumed  an  icy 
air.  One  of  her  lovers  had  appeared  at  the  cafe  door.  He 
approached  the  bar,  whistling,  and  swaggering  his  shoulders. 
He  looked  at  Julien.  The  latter's  imagination,  which  always 
indulged  in  extremes,  suddenly  brimmed  over  with  ideas  of  a 
duel.  He  paled  greatly,  put  down  his  cup,  assumed  an  assured 
demeanour,  and  considered  his  rival  very  attentively.  As 
this  rival  lowered  his  head,  while  he  familiarly  poured  out  on 
the  counter  a  glass  of  brandy  for  himself,  Amanda  ordered 
Julien  with  a  look  to  lower  his  eyes.  He  obeyed,  and  for  two 
minutes  kept  motionless  in  his  place,  pale,  resolute,  and  only 
j-hinking  of  what  was  going  to  happen.     He  was  truly  happy 


172       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

at  this  moment.  The  rival  had  been  astonished  by  Julien's 
eyes.  Gulping  down  his  glass  of  brandy,  he  said  a  few  words 
to  Amanda,  placed  his  two  hands  in  the  pockets  of  his  big 
tail  coat,  and  approached  the  billiard  table,  whistling,  and 
looking  at  Julien.  The  latter  got  up  transported  with  rage, 
but  he  did  not  know  what  to  do  in  order  to  be  offensive.  He 
put  down  his  little  parcel,  and  walked  towards  the  billiard 
table  with  all  the  swagger  he  could  muster. 

It  was  in  vain  that  prudence  said  to  him,  "  but  your 
ecclesiastical  career  will  be  ruined  by  a  duel  immediately  on 
top  of  your  arrival  at  Besancon." 

"What  does  it  matter.  It  shall  never  be  said  that  I  let 
an  insolent  fellow  go  scot  free." 

Amanda  saw  his  courage.  It  contrasted  prettily  with  the 
simplicity  of  his  manners.  She  instantly  preferred  him  to 
the  big  young  man  with  the  tail  coat.  She  got  up,  and  while 
appearing  to  be  following  with  her  eye  somebody  who  was 
passing  in  the  street,  she  went  and  quickly  placed  herself 
between  him  and  the  billiard  table. 

"  Take  care  not  to  look  askance  at  that  gentleman.  He  is 
my  brother-in-law." 

"  What  does  it  matter  ?     He  looked  at  me." 

"  Do  you  want  to  make  me  unhappy  ?  No  doubt  he 
looked  at  you,  why  it  may  be  he  is  going  to  speak  to  you.  I 
told  him  that  you  were  a  relative  of  my  mother,  and  that  you 
had  arrived  from  Genlis.  He  is  a  Franc-contois,  and  has 
never  gone  beyond  Ddleon  the  Burgundy  Road,  so  say  what 
you  like  and  fear  nothing." 

Julien  was  still  hesitating.  Her  barmaid's  imagination 
furnished  her  with  an  abundance  of  lies,  and  she  quickly 
added. 

"  No  doubt  he  looked  at  you,  but  it  was  at  a  moment  when 
he  was  asking  me  who  you  were.  He  is  a  man  who  is 
boorish  with  everyone.     He  did  not  mean  to  insult  you." 

Julien's  eye  followed  the  pretended  brother-in-law.  He 
saw  him  buy  a  ticket  for  the  pool,  which  they  were  playing  at 
the  further  of  the  two  billiard  tables.  Julien  heard  his  loud  voice 
shouting  out  in  a  threatening  tone,  "  My  turn  to  play." 

He  passed  sharply  before  Madame  Amanda,  and  took  a  step 
towards  the  billiard  table.     Amanda  seized  him  by  the  arm. 

"  Come  and  pay  me  first,"  she  said  to  him. 


A  CAPITAL  173 

"  That  is  right,"  thought  Julien.  "  She  is  frightened  that 
I  shall  leave  without  paying."  Amanda  was  as  agitated  as  he 
was,  and  very  red.  She  gave  him  the  change  as  slowly  as  she 
could,  while  she  repeated  to  him,  in  a  low  voice, 

"  Leave  the  cafe  this  instant,  or  I  shall  love  you  no  more, 
and  yet  I  do  love  you  very  much." 

Julien  did  go  out,  but  slowly.  "  Am  I  not  in  duty  bound, 
he  repeated  to  himself,  to  go  and  stare  at  that  coarse  person 
in  my  turn  ?  "  This  uncertainty  kept  him  on  the  boulevard  in 
the  front  of  the  cafe  for  an  hour ;  he  kept  looking  if  his  man 
was  coming  out.  He  did  not  come  out,  and  Julien  went 
away. 

He  had  only  been  at  Besancon  some  hours,  and  already  he 
had  overcome  one  pang  of  remorse.  The  old  surgeon-major 
had  formerly  given  him  some  fencing  lessons,  in  spite  of  his 
gout.  That  was  all  the  science  which  Julien  could  enlist  in 
the  service  of  his  anger.  But  this  embarrassment  would  have 
been  nothing  if  he  had  only  known  how  to  vent  his  temper 
otherwise  than  by  the  giving  of  a  blow,  for  if  it  had  come  to 
a  matter  of  fisticuffs,  his  enormous  rival  would  have  beaten 
him  and  then  cleared  out. 

"  There  is  not  much  difference  between  a  seminary  and  a 
prison,"  said  Julien  to  himself,  "for  a  poor  devil  like  me, 
without  protectors  and  without  money.  I  must  leave  my 
civilian  clothes  in  some  inn,  where  I  can  put  my  black  suit 
on  again.  If  I  ever  manage  to  get  out  of  the  seminary  for  a 
few  hours,  I  shall  be  able  to  see  Mdlle.  Amanda  again  in  my 
lay  clothes.  This  reasoning  was  all  very  fine.  Though 
Julien  passed  in  front  of  all  the  inns,  he  did  not  dare  to  enter 
a  single  one. 

Finally,  as  he  was  passing  again  before  the  Hotel  des 
Ambassadeurs,  his  anxious  eyes  encountered  those  of  a  big 
woman,  still  fairly  young,  with  a  high  colour,  and  a  gay  and 
happy  air.     He  approached  her  and  told  his  story. 

"  Certainly,  my  pretty  little  abbe,"  said  the  hostess  of  the 
Ambassadeurs  to  him,  "  I  will  keep  your  lay  clothes  for  you, 
and  I  will  even  have  them  regularly  brushed.  In  weather  like 
this,  it  is  not  good  to  leave  a  suit  of  cloth  without  touching 
it."  She  took  a  key,  and  conducted  him  herself  to  a  room, 
and  advised  him  to  make  out  a  note  of  what  he  was  leaving. 

"  Good  heavens.     How  well  you  look  like  that,  M.  the  abbe 


*74  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Sorel,"  said  the  big  woman  to  him  when  he  came  down  to 
the  kitchen.  I  will  go  and  get  a  good  dinner  served  up  to 
you,  and  she  added  in  a  low  voice,  "  It  will  only  cost  twenty 
sous  instead  of  the  fifty  which  everybody  else  pays,  for  one 
must  really  take  care  of  your  little  purse  strings." 

"  I  have  ten  louis,"  Julien  replied  with  certain  pride. 

"Oh,  great  heavens,"  answered  the  good  hostess  in  alarm. 
"  Don't  talk  so  loud,  there  are  quite  a  lot  of  bad  characters  in 
Besancon.  They'll  steal  all  that  from  you  in  less  than  no  time, 
and  above  all,  never  go  into  the  cafes,  they  are  filled  with 
bad  characters." 

"  Indeed,"  said  Julien,  to  whom  those  words  gave  food  for 
thought. 

"  Don't  go  anywhere  else,  except  to  my  place.  I  will 
make  coffee  for  you.  Remember  that  you  will  always  find 
a  friend  here,  and  a  good  dinner  for  twenty  sous.  So  now 
you  understand,  I  hope.  Go  and  sit  down  at  table,  I  will 
serve  you  myself." 

"  I  shan't  be  able  to  eat,"  said  Julien  to  her.  "  I  am  too 
upset.  I  am  going  to  enter  the  seminary,  as  I  leave  you." 
The  good  woman,  would  not  allow  him  to  leave  before  she 
had  filled  his  pockets  with  provisions.  Finally  Julien  took 
his  road  towards  the  terrible  place.  The  hostess  was  standing 
at  the  threshold,  and  showed  him  the  way. 


CHAPTER  XXV 

THE  SEMINARY 

Three  hundred  and   thirty-six  dinners  at  eighty-five 
centimes.     Three  hundred  and  thirty-six  suppers  at  fifty- 
centimes.     Chocolate  to  those  who  are  entitled  to  it. 
How    much    profit    can    be    made   on    the   contract? 
—  Valtnod  of  Besaticon. 

He  saw  in  the  distance  the  iron  gilt  cross  on  the  door.  He 
approached  slowly.  His  legs  seemed  to  give  way  beneath 
him.  "  So  here  is  this  hell  upon  earth  which  I  shall  be  unable 
to  leave." 

Finally  he  made  up  his  mind  to  ring.  The  noise  of  the 
bell  reverberated  as  though  through  a  solitude.  At  the  end  of 
ten  minutes  a  pale  man,  clothed  in  black,  came  and  opened  the 
door.  Julien  looked  at  him,  and  immediately  lowered  his 
eyes.  This  porter  had  a  singular  physiognomy.  The  green 
projecting  pupils  of  his  eyes  were  as  round  as  those  of  a  cat. 
The  straight  lines  of  his  eyebrows  betokened  the  impossibility 
of  any  sympathy.  His  thin  lips  came  round  in  a  semicircle 
over  projecting  teeth.  None  the  less,  his  physiognomy  did 
not  so  much  betoken  crime  as  rather  that  perfect  callousness 
which  is  so  much  more  terrifying  to  the  young.  The  one 
sentiment  which  Julien's  rapid  gaze  surmised  in  this  long  and 
devout  face  was  a  profound  contempt  for  every  topic  of 
conversation  which  did  not  deal  with  things  celestial.  Julien 
raised  his  eyes  with  an  effort,  and  in  a  voice  rendered  quavering 
by  the  beating  of  his  heart  explained  that  he  desired  to 
speak  to  M.  Pirard,  the  director  of  the  Seminary.  Without 
saying  a  word  the  man  in  black  signed  to  him  to  follow. 
They  ascended  two  stories  by  a  large  staircase  with  a  wooden 
rail,  whose  warped  stairs  inclined  to  the  side  opposite  the  wall, 
and  seemed  on  the  point  of  falling.     A  little  door  with  a  big 


176       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

cemetery  cross  of  white  wood  painted  black  at  the  top  was 
opened  with  difficulty,  and  the  porter  made  him  enter  a  dark 
low  room,  whose  whitewashed  walls  were  decorated  with  two 
big  pictures  blackened  by  age.  In  this  room  Julien  was  left 
alone.  He  was  overwhelmed.  His  heart  was  beating 
violently.  He  would  have  been  happy  to  have  ventured  to 
cry.     A  silence  of  death  reigned  over  the  whole  house. 

At  the  end  of  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  which  seemed  a  whole 
day  to  him,  the  sinister  looking  porter  reappeared  on  the 
threshold  of  a  door  at  the  other  end  of  the  room,  and  without 
vouchsafing  a  word,  signed  to  him  to  advance.  He  entered 
into  a  room  even  larger  than  the  first,  and  very  badly  lighted. 
The  walls  also  were  whitened,  but  there  was  no  furniture. 
Only  in  a  corner  near  the  door  Julien  saw  as  he  passed  a 
white  wooden  bed,  two  straw  chairs,  and  a  little  pinewood 
armchair  without  any  cushions.  He  perceived  at  the  other 
end  of  the  room,  near  a  small  window  with  yellow  panes 
decorated  with  badly  kept  flower  vases,  a  man  seated  at  a 
table,  and  covered  with  a  dilapidated  cassock.  He  appeared 
to  be  in  a  temper,  and  took  one  after  the  other  a  number  of 
little  squares  of  paper,  which  he  arranged  on  his  table  after 
he  had  written  some  words  on  them.  He  did  not  notice 
Julien's  presence.  The  latter  did  not  move,  but  kept 
standing  near  the  centre  of  the  room  in  the  place  where  the 
porter,  who  had  gone  out  and  shut  the  door,  had  left  him. 

Ten  minutes  passed  in  this  way :  the  badly  dressed  man 
kept  on  writing  all  the  time.  Julien's  emotion  and  terror 
were  so  great  that  he  thought  he  was  on  the  point  of  falling. 
A  philosopher  would  have  said,  possibly  wrongly,  "  It  is  a 
violent  impression  made  by  ugliness  on  a  soul  intended  by 
nature  to  love  the  beautiful." 

The  man  who  was  writing  lifted  up  his  head.  Julien 
only  perceived  it  after  a  moment  had  passed,  and  even  after 
seeing  it,  he  still  remained  motionless,  as  though  struck  dead 
by  the  terrible  look  of  which  he  was  the  victim.  Julien's 
troubled  eyes  just  managed  to  make  out  a  long  face,  all 
covered  with  red  blotches  except  the  forehead,  which  mani- 
fested a  mortal  pallor.  Two  little  black  eyes,  calculated 
to  terrify  the  most  courageous,  shone  between  these  red 
cheeks  and  that  white  forehead.  The  vast  area  of  his  forehead 
was  bounded  by  thick,  fiat,  jet  black  hair. 


THE  SEMINARY  177 

"  Will  you  come  near,  yes  or  no  ? "  said  the  man  at  last, 
impatiently. 

Julien  advanced  with  an  uneasy  step,  and  at  last,  paler 
than  he  had  ever  been  in  his  life  and  on  the  point  of  falling, 
stopped  three  paces  from  the  little  white  wooden  table  which 
was  covered  with  the  squares  of  paper. 

"  Nearer,"  said  the  man. 

Julien  advanced  still  further,  holding  out  his  hand,  as 
though  trying  to  lean  on  something. 

"  Your  name  ?  " 

"  Julien  Sorel." 

"  Vou  are  certainly  very  late,"  said  the  man  to  him,  as  he 
rivetted  again  on  him  that  terrible  gaze. 

Julien  could  not  endure  this  look.  Holding  out  his  hand  as 
though  to  support  himself,  he  fell  all  his  length  along  the  floor. 

The  man  rang.  Julien  had  only  lost  the  use  of  his  eyes 
and  the  power  of  movement.     He  heard  steps  approaching. 

He  was  lifted  up  and  placed  on  the  little  armchair  of  white 
wood.     He  heard  the  terrible  man  saying  to  the  porter, 

"  He  has  had  an  epileptic  fit  apparently,  and  this  is  the 
finishing  touch." 

When  Julien  was  able  to  open  his  eyes,  the  man  with  the 
red  face  was  going  on  with  his  writing.  The  porter  had 
disappeared.  "  I  must  have  courage,"  said  our  hero  to 
himself,  "and  above  all,  hide  what  I  feel."  He  felt  violently 
sick.  "If  anything  happens  to  me,  God  knows  what  they 
will  think  of  me." 

Finally  the  man  stopped  writing  and  looked  sideways  at  Julien. 

"  Are  you  in  a  fit  state  to  answer  me  ?  " 

"  Yes,  sir,"  said  Julien  in  an  enfeebled  voice. 

"  Ah,  that's  fortunate." 

The  man  in  black  had  half  got  up,  and  was  looking 
impatiently  for  a  letter  in  the  drawer  of  his  pinewood  table, 
which  opened  with  a  grind.  He  found  it,  sat  down  slowly, 
and  looking  again  at  Julien  in  a  manner  calculated  to  suck 
out  of  him  the  little  life  which  he  still  possessed,  said, 

"  You  have  been  recommended  to  me  by  M.  Chelan.  He 
was  the  best  cure  in  the  diocese ;  he  was  an  upright  man  if 
there  ever  was  one,  and  my  friend  for  thirty  years." 

"  Oh.  It's  to  M.  Pirard  then  that  I  have  the  honour  of 
speaking  ?  "  said  Julien  in  a  dying  voice. 

12 


178       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"Apparently,"  replied  the  director  of  the  seminary,  as  he 
looked  at  him  disagreeably. 

The  glitter  of  his  little  eyes  doubled  and  was  followed  by  an 
involuntary  movement  of  the  muscles  of  the  corner  of  the 
mouth.  It  was  the  physiognomy  of  the  tiger  savouring  in 
advance  the  pleasure  of  devouring  its  prey. 

"  Chelan's  letter  is  short,"  he  said,  as  though  speaking  to 
himself.  "  Intelligenti  pauca.  In  the  present  time  it  is 
impossible  to  write  too  little."     He  read  aloud : — 

"  I  recommend  to  you  Julien  Sorel  of  this  parish,  whom  I 
baptized  nearly  twenty  years  ago,  the  son  of  a  rich  carpenter  who 
gives  him  nothing.  Julien  will  be  a  remarkable  worker  in  the 
vineyard  of  the  Lord.  He  lacks  neither  memory  nor  intelligence  : 
he  has  some  faculty  for  reflection.  Will  he  persevere  in  his 
calling?     Is  he  sincere?" 

"Sincere,"  repeated  the  abbe  Pirard  with  an  astonished  air, 
looking  at  Julien.  But  the  abbe's  look  was  already  less 
devoid  of  all  humanity.  "  Sincere,"  he  repeated,  lowering  his 
voice,  and  resuming  his  reading  : — 

"  I  ask  you  for  a  stipend  for  Julien  Sorel.  He  will  earn  it  by 
passing  the  necessary  examinations.  I  have  taught  him  a  little 
theology,  that  old  and  good  theology  of  the  Bossuets,  the  Arnaults, 
and  the  Fleury's.  If  the  person  does  not  suit  you,  send  him  back 
to  me.  The  director  of  the  workhouse,  whom  you  know  well, 
offers  him  eight  hundred  to  be  tutor  to  his  children.  My  inner 
self  is  tranquil,  thanks  to  God.  I  am  accustoming  myself  to  the 
terrible  blow,  '  Vale  et  me  ama.' " 

The  abbe  Pirard,  speaking  more  slowly  as  he  read  the 
signature,  pronounced  with  a  sigh  the  word,  "  Chelan." 

"  He  is  tranquil,"  he  said,  "  in  fact  his  righteousness 
deserves  such  a  recompense.  May  God  grant  it  to  me  in  such 
a  case."  He  looked  up  to  heaven  and  made  the  sign  of  the 
cross.  At  the  sight  of  that  sacred  sign  Julien  felt  an  alleviation 
of  the  profound  horror  which  had  frozen  him  since  his  entry 
into  the  house. 

"  I  have  here  three  hundred  and  twenty-one  aspirants  for 
the  most  holy  state,"  said  the  abbe  Pirard  at  last,  in  a  tone, 
which  though  severe,  was  not  malicious ;  only  seven  or  eight 
have  been  recommended  to  me  by  such  men  as  the  abbe 
Chelan ;  so  you  will  be  the  ninth  of  these  among  the  three 


THE  SEMINARY  179 

hundred  and  twenty-one.  But  my  protection  means  neither 
favour  nor  weakness,  it  means  doubled  care,  and  doubled 
severity  against  vice.     Go  and  lock  that  door." 

Julian  made  an  effort  to  walk,  and  managed  not  to  fall. 
He  noticed  that  a  little  window  near  the  entrance  door  looked 
out  on  to  the  country.  He  saw  the  trees ;  that  sight  did  him 
as  much  good  as  the  sight  of  old  friends. 

"  '  Loquerisne  linquam  latinam ? '"  (Do  you  speak  Latin?) 
said  the  abbe  Pirard  to  him  as  he  came  back. 

"  ■  Ita,  pater  optime,' "  (Yes,  excellent  Father)  answered 
Julien,  recovering  himself  a  little.  But  it  was  certain  that 
nobody  in  the  world  had  ever  appeared  to  him  less  excellent 
than  had  M.  Pirard  for  the  last  half  hour. 

The  conversation  continued  in  Latin.  The  expression  in 
the  abbe's  eyes  softened.  Julien  regained  some  self- 
possession.  "  How  weak  I  am,"  he  thought,  "  to  let  myself 
be  imposed  on  by  these  appearances  of  virtue.  The  man  is 
probably  nothing  more  than  a  rascal,  like  M.  Maslon,"  and 
Julien  congratulated  himself  on  having  hidden  nearly  all  his 
money  in  his  boots. 

The  abbe  Pirard  examined  Julien  in  theology ;  he  was 
surprised  at  the  extent  of  his  knowledge,  but  his  astonishment 
increased  when  he  questioned  him  in  particular  on  sacred 
scriptures. '  But  when  it  came  to  questions  of  the  doctrines  of 
the  Fathers,  he  perceived  that  Julien  scarcely  even  knew  the 
names  of  Saint  Jerome,  Saint  Augustin,  Saint  Bonaventure, 
Saint  Basile,  etc.,  etc. 

"As  a  matter  of  fact,"  thought  the  abbe  Pirard,  "this  is 
simply  that  fatal  tendency  to  Protestantism  for  which  I  have 
always  reproached  Chelan.  A  profound,  and  only  too 
profound  knowledge  of  the  Holy  Scriptures." 

(Julien  had  just  started  speaking  to  him,  without  being 
questioned  on  the  point,  about  the  real  time  when  Genesis,  the 
Pentateuch,  etc.,  has  been  written). 

"  To  what  does  this  never-ending  reasoning  over  the  Holy 
Scriptures  lead  to  ? "  thought  the  abbe  Pirard,  "  if  not  to 
self-examination,  that  is  to  say,  the  most  awful  Protestantism. 
And  by  the  side  of  this  imprudent  knowledge,  nothing  about 
the  Fathers  to  compensate  for  that  tendency." 

But  the  astonishment  of  the  director  of  the  seminary  was 
quite  unbounded  when  having  questioned  Julien   about  the 


180      THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

authority  of  the  Pope,  and  expecting  to  hear  the  maxims  of 
the  ancient  Gallican  Church,  the  young  man  recited  to  him 
the  whole  book  of  M.  de  Maistre  "  Strange  man,  that 
Chelan,"  thought  the  abbe  Pirard.  "  Did  he  show  him  the 
book  simply  to  teach  him  to  make  fun  of  it  ?  " 

It  was  in  vain  that  he  questioned  Julien  and  endeavoured 
to  guess  if  he  seriously  believed  in  the  doctrine  of  M.  de 
Maistre.  The  young  man  only  answered  what  he  had  learnt 
by  heart.  From  this  moment  Julien  was  really  happy.  He 
felt  that  he  was  master  of  himself.  After  a  very  long  examina- 
tion, it  seemed  to  him  that  M.  Pirard's  severity  towards  him 
was  only  affected.  Indeed,  the  director  of  the  seminary 
would  have  embraced  Julien  in  the  name  of  logic,  for  he 
found  so  much  clearness,  precision  and  lucidity  in  his 
answers,  had  it  not  been  for  the  principles  of  austere  gravity 
towards  his  theology  pupils  which  he  had  inculcated  in  himself 
for  the  last  fifteen  years. 

"Here  we  have  a  bold  and  healthy  mind,"  he  said  to 
himself,  "  but  corpus  debile  "  (the  body  is  weak). 

"  Do  you  often  fall  like  that  ?  "  he  said  to  Julien  in  French, 
pointing  with  his  finger  to  the  floor. 

"  It's  the  first  time  in  my  life.  The  porter's  face  unnerved 
me,"  added  Julien,  blushing  like  a  child.  The  abbe  Pirard 
almost  smiled. 

"That's  the  result  of  vain  worldly  pomp.  You  are 
apparently  accustomed  to  smiling  faces,  those  veritable 
theatres  of  falsehood.  Truth  is  austere,  Monsieur,  but  is  not  our 
task  down  here  also  austere  ?  You  must  be  careful  that  your 
conscience  guards  against  that  weakness  of  yours,  too  much 
sensibility  to  vain  external  graces." 

"  If  you  had  not  been  recommended  to  me,"  said  the 
abbe  Pirard,  resuming  the  Latin  language  with  an  obvious 
pleasure,  "  If  you  had  not  been  recommended  by  a  man,  by 
the  abbe  Chelan,  I  would  talk  to  you  the  vain  language  of 
that  world,  to  which  it  would  appear  you  are  only  too  well 
accustomed.  I  would  tell  you  that  the  full  stipend  which 
you  solicit  is  the  most  difficult  thing  in  the  world  to  obtain. 
But  the  fifty-six  years  which  the  abbe  Chelan  has  spent  in 
apostolic  work  have  stood  him  in  poor  stead  if  he  cannot 
dispose  of  a  stipend  at  the  seminary. 

After  these  words,  the  abbee  Pirard  recommended  Julien 


THE  SEMINARY  181 

not  to  enter  any  secret  society  or  congregation  without  his 
consent. 

"  I  give  you  my  word  of  honour,"  said  Julien,  with  all 
an  honest  man's  expansion  of  heart.  The  director  of  the 
seminary  smiled  for  the  first  time. 

"  That  expression  is  not  used  here,"  he  said  to  him.  "  It  is 
too  reminiscent  of  that  vain  honour  of  worldly  people,  which 
leads  them  to  so  many  errors  and  often  to  so  many  crimes. 
You  owe  me  obedience  by  virtue  of  paragraph  seventeen  of 
the  bull  Unam  Eccesiam  of  St.  Pius  the  Fifth.  I  am  your 
ecclesiastical  superior.  To  hear  in  this  house,  my  dear  son,  is 
to  obey.     How  much  money,  have  you  ?  " 

("So  here  we  are,"  said  Julien  to  himself,  "that  was  the 
reason  of  the  '  my  very  dear  son ')." 

"  Thirty-five  francs,  my  father." 

"  Write  out  carefully  how  you  use  that  money.  You  will 
have  to  give  me  an  account  of  it." 

This  painful  audience  had  lasted  three  hours.  Julien 
summoned  the  porter. 

"  Go  and  install  Julien  Sorel  in  cell  No.  103,"  said  the  abbe 
Pirard  to  the  man. 

As  a  great  favour  he  let  Julien  have  a  place  all  to  himself. 
"  Carry  his  box  there,"  he  added. 

Julien  lowered  his  eyes,  and  recognised  his  box  just  in 
front  of  him.  He  had  been  looking  at  it  for  three  hours  and 
had  not  recognised  it. 

As  he  arrived  at  No.  103,  which  was  a  little  room 
eight  feet  square  on  the  top  story  of  the  house,  Julien  noticed 
that  it  looked  out  on  to  the  ramparts,  and  he  perceived 
beyond  them  the  pretty  plain  which  the  Doubs  divides  from 
the  town. 

"What  a  charming  view  !"  exclaimed  Julien.  In  speaking 
like  this  he  did  not  feel  what  the  words  actually  expressed.  The 
violent  sensations  which  he  had  experienced  during  the  short 
time  that  he  had  been  at  Besanc_on  had  absolutely  exhausted 
his  strength.  He  sat  down  near  the  window  on  the  one 
wooden  chair  in  the  cell,  and  fell  at  once  into  a  profound 
sleep.  He  did  not  hear  either  the  supper  bell  or  the  bell  for 
benediction.  They  had  forgotten  him.  When  the  first  rays 
of  the  sun  woke  him  up  the  following  morning,  he  found 
himself  lying  on  the  floor. 


CHAPTER  XXVI 

THE   WORLD,    OR    WHAT   THE    RICH    LACK 

I  am  alone  in  the  world.  No  one  deigns  to  spare  me  a  thought. 
All  those  whom  I  see  make  their  fortune,  have  an  insolence  and 
hardness  of  heart  which  I  do  not  feel  in  myself.  They  hate  me 
by  reason  of  kindness  and  good-humour.  Oh,  I  shall  die  soon, 
either  from  starvation  or  the  unhappiness  of  seeing  men  so  hard  of 
heart. —  Young. 

He  hastened  to  brush  his  clothes  and  run  down.  He  was 
late.  Instead  of  trying  to  justify  himself  Julien  crossed  his 
arms  over  his  breast. 

"  Peccavi  pater  optime  (I  have  sinned,  I  confess  my  fault, 
oh,  my  father),"  he  said  with  a  contrite  air. 

This  first  speech  was  a  great  success.  The  clever  ones 
among  the  seminarists  saw  that  they  had  to  deal  with  a  man 
who  knew  something  about  the  elements  of  the  profession.  The 
recreation  hour  arrived,  and  Julien  saw  that  he  was  the  object 
of  general  curiosity,  but  he  only  manifested  reserved  silence. 
Following  the  maxims  he  had  laid  down  for  himself,  he 
considered  his  three  hundred  and  twenty-one  comrades  as 
enemies.  The  most  dangerous  of  all  in  his  eyes  was  the 
abbe  Pirard.  A  few  days  afterwards  Julien  had  to  choose  a 
confessor,  and  was  given  a  list. 

"  Great  heavens  !  what  do  they  take  me  for  ?  "  he  said  to 
himself.  "  Do  they  think  I  don't  understand  what's  what  ?  " 
Then  he  chose  the  abbe  Pirard. 

This  step  proved  decisive  without  his  suspecting  it. 

A  little  seminarist,  who  was  quite  young  and  a  native  of 
Verrieres,  and  who  had  declared  himself  his  friend  since  the 
first  day,  informed  him  that  he  would  probably  have  acted 
more  prudently  if  he  had  chosen  M.  Castanede,  the  sub- 
director  of  the  seminary 


THE  WORLD,  OR  WHAT  THE  RICH  LACK    183 

"The  abbe  Castanede  is  the  enemy  of  Pirard,  who  is 
suspected  of  Jansenism,"  added  the  little  seminarist  in  a 
whisper.  All  the  first  steps  of  our  hero  were,  in  spite  of  the 
prudence  on  which  he  plumed  himself,  as  much  mistakes  as 
his  choice  of  a  confessor.  Misled  as  he  was  by  all  the  self- 
confidence  of  a  man  of  imagination,  he  took  his  projects  for 
facts,  and  believed  that  he  was  a  consummate  hypocrite.  His 
folly  went  so  far  as  to  reproach  himself  for  his  success  in  this 
kind  of  weakness. 

"  Alas,  it  is  my  only  weapon,"  he  said  to  himself.  "  At 
another  period  I  should  have  earned  my  livelihood  by  eloquent 
deeds  in  the  face  of  the  enemy." 

Satisfied  as  he  was  with  his  own  conduct,  Julien  looked 
around  him.  He  found  everywhere  the  appearance  of  the 
purest  virtue. 

Eight  or  ten  seminarists  lived  in  the  odour  of  sanctity,  and 
had  visions  like  Saint  Theresa,  and  Saint  Francis,  when  he 
received  his  stigmata  on  Mount  Vernia  in  the  Appenines. 
But  it  was  a  great  secret  and  their  friends  concealed  it.  These 
poor  young  people  who  had  visions  were  always  in  the  in- 
firmary. A  hundred  others  combined  an  indefatigable  applica- 
tion to  a  robust  faith.  They  worked  till  they  fell  ill,  but 
without  learning  much.  Two  or  three  were  distinguished  by 
a  real  talent,  amongst  others  a  student  of  the  name  of  Chazel, 
but  both  they  and  Julien  felt  mutually  unsympathetic. 

The  rest  of  these  three  hundred  and  twenty-one  seminarists 
consisted  exclusively  of  coarse  persons,  who  were  by  no  means 
sure  of  understanding  the  Latin  words  which  they  kept  on 
repeating  the  livelong  day.  Nearly  all  were  the  sons  of 
peasants,  and  they  preferred  to  gain  their  livelihood  by  reciting 
some  Latin  words  than  by  ploughing  the  earth.  It  was  after 
this  examination  of  his  colleagues  that  Julien,  during  the  first 
few  days,  promised  himself  a  speedy  success. 

"  Intelligent  people  are  needed  in  every  service,"  he  said  to 
himself,  "  for,  after  all,  there  is  work  to  be  done.  I  should 
have  been  a  sergeant  under  Napoleon.  I  shall  be  a  grand 
vicar  among  these  future  cures." 

"  All  these  poor  devils,"  he  added,  "  manual  labourers  as 
they  have  been  since  their  childhood,  have  lived  on  curded 
milk  and  black  bread  up  till  they  arrived  here.  They  would 
only  eat  meat  five  or  six  times  a  year  in  their  hovels.     Like 


i84       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

the  Roman  soldiers  who  used  to  find  war  the  time  of  rest,  these 
poor  peasants  are  enchanted  with  the  delights  of  the  seminary. 

Julien  could  never  read  anything  in  their  gloomy  eyes  but 
the  satisfaction  of  physical  craving  after  dinner,  and  the  ex- 
pectation of  sensual  pleasure  before  the  meal.  Such  were  the 
people  among  whom  Julien  had  to  distinguish  himself;  but 
the  fact  which  he  did  not  know,  and  which  they  refrained 
from  telling  him,  was  that  coming  out  first  in  the  different 
courses  of  dogma,  ecclesiastical  history,  etc.,  etc.,  which  are 
taken  at  the  seminary,  constituted  in  their  eyes,  neither  more 
nor  less  than  a  splendid  sin. 

Since  the  time  of  Voltaire  and  two-chamber  Government, 
which  is  at  bottom  simply  distrust  and  personal  self-examina- 
tion, and  gives  the  popular  mind  that  bad  habit  of  being 
suspicious,  the  Church  of  France  seems  to  have  realised  that 
books  are  its  real  enemies.  It  is  the  submissive  heart  which 
counts  for  everything  in  its  eyes.  It  suspects,  and  rightly  so, 
any  success  in  studies,  even  sacred  ones.  What  is  to  prevent 
a  superior  man  from  crossing  over  to  the  opposite  side  like 
Sieyes  or  Gregory.  The  trembling  Church  clings  on  to  the 
Pope  as  its  one  chance  of  safety.  The  Pope  alone  is  in  a 
position  to  attempt  to  paralyse  all  personal  self-examination, 
and  to  make  an  impression  by  means  of  the  pompous  piety 
of  his  court  ceremonial  on  the  bored  and  morbid  spirit  of 
fashionable  society. 

Julien,  as  he  began  to  get  some  glimpse  of  these  various 
truths,  which  are  none  the  less  in  total  contradiction  to  all 
the  official  pronouncements  of  any  seminary,  fell  into  a  profound 
melancholy.  He  worked  a  great  deal  and  rapidly  succeeded 
in  learning  things  which  were  extremely  useful  to  a  priest, 
extremely  false  in  his  own  eyes,  and  devoid  of  the  slightest 
interest  for  him.     He  felt  there  was  nothing  else  to  do. 

"  Am  I  then  forgotten  by  the  whole  world,"  he  thought. 
He  did  not  know  that  M.  Pirard  had  received  and  thrown  into 
the  fire  several  letters  with  the  Dijon  stamp  in  which  the  most 
lively  passion  would  pierce  through  the  most  formal  con- 
ventionalism of  style.  "  This  love  seems  to  be  fought  by  great 
attacks  of  remorse.  All  the  better,"  thought  the  abbe  Pirard. 
"  At  any  rate  this  lad  has  not  loved  an  infidel  woman." 

One  day  the  abbe  Pirard  opened  a  letter  which  seemed 
half-blotted  out  by  tears.      It  was  an  adieu  for  ever.      "  At 


THE  WORLD,  OR  WHAT  THE  RICH  LACK    185 

last,"  said  the  writer  to  Julien,  "  Heaven  has  granted  me  the 
grace  of  hating,  not  the  author  of  my  fall,  but  my  fall  itself. 
The  sacrifice  has  been  made,  dear  one,  not  without  tears  as 
you  see.  The  safety  of  those  to  whom  I  must  devote  my  life, 
and  whom  you  love  so  much,  is  the  decisive  factor.  A  just 
but  terrible  God  will  no  longer  see  His  way  to  avenge  on  them 
their  mother's  crimes.  Adieu,  Julien.  Be  just  towards  all 
men."  The  end  of  the  letter  was  nearly  entirely  illegible. 
The  writer  gave  an  address  at  Dijon,  but  at  the  same  time 
expressed  the  hope  that  Julien  would  not  answer,  or  at  any 
rate  would  employ  language  which  a  reformed  woman  could 
read  without  blushing.  Julien's  melancholy,  aggravated  by 
the  mediocre  nourishment  which  the  contractor  who  gave 
dinners  at  thirteen  centimes  per  head  supplied  to  the  seminary, 
began  to  affect  his  health,  when  Fouque  suddenly  appeared  in 
his  room  one  morning. 

"  I  have  been  able  to  get  in  at  last.  I  have  duly  been  five 
times  to  Besancon  in  order  to  see  you.  Could  never  get  in. 
I  put  someone  by  the  door  to  watch.  Why  the  devil  don't 
you  ever  go  out  ?  " 

"  It  is  a  test  which  I  have  imposed  on  myself." 

"  I  find  you  greatly  changed,  but  here  you  are  again.  I 
have  just  learned  from  a  couple  of  good  five  franc  pieces  that 
I  was  only  a  fool  not  to  have  offered  them  on  my  first  journey." 

The  conversation  of  the  two  friends  went  on  for  ever. 
Julien  changed  coloured  when  Fouque  said  to  him, 

"  Do  you  know,  by  the  by,  that  your  pupils'  mother  has 
become  positively  devout." 

And  he  began  to  talk  in  that  off-hand  manner  which  makes 
so  singular  an  impression  on  the  passionate  soul,  whose  dearest 
interests  are  being  destroyed  without  the  speaker  having  the 
faintest  suspicion  of  it. 

"  Yes,  my  friend,  the  most  exalted  devoutness.  She  is  said 
to  make  pilgrimages.  But  to  the  eternal  shame  of  the  abbe 
Maslon,  who  has  played  the  spy  so  long  on  that  poor  M. 
Chelan,  Madame  de  Renal  would  have  nothing  to  do  with 
him.     She  goes  to  confession  to  Dijon  or  Besancon." 

"  She  goes  to  Besancon,"  said  Julien,  flushing  all  over  his 
forehead. 

"  Pretty  often,"  said  Fouque  in  a  questioning  manner. 

"  Have  you  got  any  Constitutionnels  on  you  ?  " 


186       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"  What  do  you  say  ?  "  replied  Fouque. 

"  I'm  asking  if  you've  got  any  Constitutionnels  ?  "  went  on 
Julien  in  the  quietest  tone  imaginable.  "They  cost  thirty 
sous  a  number  here." 

"  What ! "  exclaimed  Fouque.  "  Liberals  even  in  the 
seminary !  Poor  France,"  he  added,  assuming  the  abbe 
Maslon's  hypocritical  voice  and  sugary  tone. 

This  visit  would  have  made  a  deep  impression  on  our  hero, 
if  he  had  not  been  put  on  the  track  of  an  important  discovery 
by  some  words  addressed  to  him  the  following  day  by  the  little 
seminarist  from  Verrieres.  Julien's  conduct  since  he  had  been 
at  the  seminary  had  been  nothing  but  a  series  of  false  steps. 
He  began  to  make  bitter  fun  of  himself. 

In  point  of  fact  the  important  actions  in  his  life  had  been 
cleverly  managed,  but  he  was  careless  about  details,  and 
cleverness  in  a  seminary  consists  in  attention  to  details. 
Consequently,  he  had  already  the  reputation  among  his 
comrades  of  being  a  strong-minded  person.  He  had  been 
betrayed  by  a  number  of  little  actions. 

He  had  been  convicted  in  their  eyes  of  this  enormity,  he 
thought  and  judged  for  himself  instead  of  blindly  following 
authority  and  example.  The  abbe  Pirard  had  been  no  help 
to  him.  He  had  not  spoken  to  him  on  a  single  occasion 
apart  from  the  confessional,  and  even  there  he  listened  more 
than  he  spoke.  Matters  would  have  been  very  different  if  he 
had  chosen  the  abbe  Castanede.  The  moment  that  Julien 
realised  his  folly,  he  ceased  to  be  bored.  He  wished  to  know 
the  whole  extent  of  the  evil,  and  to  effect  this  emerged  a  little 
from  that  haughty  obstinate  silence  with  which  he  had 
scrupulously  rebuffed  his  comrades.  It  was  now  that  they 
took  their  revenge  on  him.  His  advances  were  welcomed  by 
a  contempt  verging  on  derision.  He  realised  that  there  had 
not  been  one  single  hour  from  the  time  of  his  entry  into  the 
seminary,  particularly  during  recreation  time,  which  had  not 
resulted  in  affecting  him  one  way  or  another,  which  had  not 
increased  the  number  of  his  enemies,  or  won  for  him  the 
goodwill  of  some  seminarist  who  was  either  sincerely  virtuous 
or  of  a  fibre  slightly  less  coarse  than  that  of  the  others.  The 
evil  to  repair  was  infinite,  and  the  task  very  difficult.  Hence- 
forth, Julien's  attention  was  always  on  guard.  The  problem 
before  him  was  to  map  out  a  new  character  for  himself. 


THE  WORLD,  OR  WHAT  THE  RICH  LACK    187 

The  moving  of  his  eyes  for  example,  occasioned  him  a  great 
deal  of  trouble.  It  is  with  good  reason  that  they  are  carried 
lowered  in  these  places. 

"  How  presumptuous  I  was  at  Verrieres,"  said  Julien  to 
himself.  "  I  thought  I  lived ;  I  was  only  preparing  for  life, 
and  here  I  am  at  last  in  the  world  such  as  I  shall  find  it,  until 
my  part  comes  to  an  end,  surrounded  by  real  enemies.  What 
immense  difficulties,"  he  added,  "are  involved  in  keeping  up 
this  hypocrisy  every  single  minute.  It  is  enough  to  put  the 
labours  of  Hercules  into  the  shade.  The  Hercules  of  modern 
times  is  the  Pope  Sixtus  Quintus,  who  deceived  by  his  modesty 
fifteen  years  on  end  forty  Cardinals  who  had  seen  the  liveliness 
and  haughtiness  of  his  whole  youth. 

"So  knowledge  is  nothing  here,"  he  said  to  himself  with 
disgust.  "  Progress  in  doctrine,  in  sacred  history,  etc.,  only 
seem  to  count.  Everything  said  on  those  subjects  is  only 
intended  to  entrap  fools  like  me.  Alas  my  only  merit  consists 
in  my  rapid  progress,  and  in  the  way  in  which  I  grasp  all 
their  nonsense.  Do  they  really  value  those  things  at  their 
true  worth?  Do  they  judge  them  like  I  do.  And  I  had 
the  stupidity  to  be  proud  of  my  quickness.  The  only  result 
of  my  coming  out  top  has  been  to  give  me  inveterate  enemies. 
Chazel,  who  really  knows  more  than  I  do,  always  throws 
some  blunder  in  his  compositions  which  gets  him  put  back  to 
the  fiftieth  place.  If  he  comes  out  first,  it  is  only  because  he 
is  absent-minded.  O  how  useful  would  one  word,  just  one 
word,  of  M.  Pirard,  have  been  to  me." 

As  soon  as  Julien  was  disillusioned,  the  long  exercises  in 
ascetic  piety,  such  as  the  attendances  in  the  chapel  five  times 
a  week,  the  intonation  of  hymns  at  the  chapel  of  the  Sacre 
Coeur,  etc ,  etc.,  which  had  previously  seemed  to  him  so 
deadly  boring,  became  his  most  interesting  opportunities  for 
action.  Thanks  to  a  severe  introspection,  and  above  all,  by 
trying  not  to  overdo  his  methods,  Julien  did  not  attempt  at 
the  outset  to  perform  significant  actions  (that  is  to  say,  actions 
which  are  proof  of  a  certain  Christian  perfection)  like  those 
seminarists  who  served  as  a  model  to  the  rest. 

Seminarists  have  a  special  way,  even  of  eating  a  poached 
egg,  which  betokens  progress  in  the  devout  life. 

The  reader  who  smiles  at  this  will  perhaps  be  good  enough 
to  remember  all  the  mistakes  which  the  abbe   Delille  made 


188       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

over  the  eating  of  an  egg  when  he  was  invited  to  breakfast 
with  a  lady  of  the  Court  of  Louis  XVI. 

Julien  first  tried  to  arrive  at  the  state  of  non  culpa,  that  is 
to  say  the  state  of  the  young  seminarist  whose  demeanour  and 
manner  of  moving  his  arms,  eyes,  etc.  while  in  fact  without 
any  trace  of  worldliness,  do  not  yet  indicate  that  the  person  is 
entirely  absorbed  by  the  conception  of  the  other  world,  and 
the  idea  of  the  pure  nothingness  of  this  one. 

Julien  incessantly  found  such  phrases  as  these  charcoaled 
on  the  walls  of  the  corridors.  "  What  are  sixty  years  of  ordeals 
balanced  against  an  eternity  of  delights  or  any  eternity  of 
boiling  oil  in  hell  ? "  He  despised  them  no  longer.  He 
realised  that  it  was  necessary  to  have  them  incessantly  before 
his  eyes.  "  What  am  I  going  to  do  all  my  life,"  he  said  to 
himself.  "  I  shall  sell  to  the  faithful  a  place  in  heaven. 
How  am  I  going  to  make  that  place  visible  to  their  eyes  ?  By 
the  difference  between  my  appearance  and  that  of  a  layman." 

After  several  months  of  absolutely  unremitting  application, 
Julien  still  had  the  appearance  of  thinking.  The  way  in 
which  he  would  move  his  eyes  and  hold  his  mouth  did  not 
betoken  that  implicit  faith  which  is  ready  to  believe  everything 
and  undergo  everything,  even  at  the  cost  of  martyrdom. 
Julien  saw  with  anger  that  he  was  surpassed  in  this  by  the 
coarsest  peasants.  There  was  good  reason  for  their  not 
appearing  full  of  thought. 

What  pains  did  he  not  take  to  acquire  that  facial  expression 
of  blindly  fervent  faith  which  is  found  so  frequently  in  the 
Italian  convents,  and  of  which  Le  Guerchin  has  left  such 
perfect  models  in  his  Church  pictures  for  the  benefit  of  us 
laymen. 

On  feast-days,  the  seminarists  were  regaled  with  sausages 
and  cabbage.  Julien's  table  neighbours  observed  that  he  did 
not  appreciate  this  happiness.  That  was  looked  upon  as  one 
of  his  paramount  crimes.  His  comrades  saw  in  this  a  most 
odious  trait,  and  the  most  foolish  hypocrisy.  Nothing  mad 
him  more  enemies. 

"  Look  at  this  bourgeois,  look  at  this  stuck-up  person," 
they  would  say,  "  who  pretends  to  despise  the  best  rations 
there  are,  sausages  and  cabbage,  shame  on  the  villain ! 
The  haughty  wretch,  he  is  damned  for  ever." 

"Alas,  these  young  peasants,  who  are  my  comrades,  find 


THE  WORLD,  OR  WHAT  THE  RICH  LACK    189 

their  ignorance  an  immense  advantage,"  Julien  would  exclaim 
in  his  moments  of  discouragement.  The  professor  has  not 
got  to  deliver  them  on  their  arrival  at  the  seminary  from  that 
awful  number  of  worldly  ideas  which  I  brought  into  it,  and 
which  they  read  on  my  face  whatever  I  do." 

Julien  watched  with  an  attention  bordering  on  envy  the 
coarsest  of  the  little  peasants  who  arrived  at  the  seminary. 
From  the  moment  when  they  were  made  to  doff  their  shabby 
jackets  to  don  the  black  robe,  their  education  consisted  of  an 
immense  and  limitless  respect  for  hard  liquid  cash  as  they  say 
in  Franche-comte. 

That  is  the  consecrated  and  heroic  way  of  expressing  the 
sublime  idea  of  current  money. 

These  seminarists,  like  the  heroes  in  Voltaire's  novels, 
found  their  happiness  in  dining  well.  Julien  discovered  in 
nearly  all  of  them  an  innate  respect  for  the  man  who  wears  a 
suit  of  good  cloth.  This  sentiment  appreciates  the  distributive 
justice,  which  is  given  us  at  our  courts,  at  its  value  or  even  above 
its  true  value.  "  What  can  one  gain,"  they  would  often  repeat 
among  themselves,  "  by  having  a  law  suit  with  '  a  big  man  ? '  " 

That  is  the  expression  current  in  the  valleys  of  the  Jura  to 
express  a  rich  man.  One  can  judge  of  their  respect  for  the 
richest  entity  of  all — the  government.  Failure  to  smile 
deferentially  at  the  mere  name  of  M.  the  Prefect  is  regarded 
as  an  imprudence  in  the  eyes  of  the  Franche-comte  peasant, 
and  imprudence  in  poor  people  is  quickly  punished  by  lack 
of  bread. 

After  having  been  almost  suffocated  at  first  by  his  feeling  of 
contempt,  Julien  eventually  experienced  a  feeling  of  pity ;  it 
often  happened  that  the  fathers  of  most  of  his  comrades 
would  enter  their  hovel  in  winter  evenings  and  fail  to  find 
there  either  bread,  chestnuts  or  potatoes. 

"  What  is  there  astonishing  then  ? "  Julien  would  say  to 
himself,  "  if  in  their  eyes  the  happy  man  is  in  the  first  place 
the  one  who  has  just  had  a  good  dinner,  and  in  the  second 
place  the  one  who  possesses  a  good  suit  ?  My  comrades  have 
a  lasting  vocation,  that  is  to  say,  they  see  in  the  ecclesiastical 
calling  a  long  continuance  of  the  happiness  of  dining  well  and 
having  a  warm  suit." 

Julien  happened  to  hear  ayoung  imaginative  seminarist  say 
to  his  companion. 


i9o       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"Why  shouldn't  I  become  Pope  like  Sixtus  Quintus  who 
kept  pigs  ?  " 

"They  only  make  Italians  Popes,"  answered  his  friend. 
"  But  they  will  certainly  draw  lots  amongst  us  for  the  great 

vicarships,  canonries  and  perhaps   bishoprics.     M.  P 

Bishop  of  Chlons,  is  the  son  of  a  cooper.     That's  what  my 
father  is." 

One  day,  in  the  middle  of  a  theology  lesson,  the  Abbe 
Pirard  summoned  Julien  to  him.  The  young  fellow  was 
delighted  to  leave  the  dark,  moral  atmosphere  in  which  he 
had  been  plunged.  Julien  received  from  the  director  the 
same  welcome  which  had  frightened  him  so  much  on  the  first 
day  of  his  entry. 

"  Explain  to  me  what  is  written  on  this  playing  card  ?  "  he 
said,  looking  at  him  in  a  way  calculated  to  make  him  sink  into 
the  earth. 

Julien  read : 

"Amanda  Biriet  of  the  Giraffe  Cafe  before  eight  o'clock. 
Say  you're  from  Genlis,  and  my  mother's  cousin." 

Julien  realised  the  immense  danger.  The  spies  of  the  abbe 
Castanede  had  stolen  the  address. 

"  I  was  trembling  with  fear  the  day  I  came  here,"  he 
answered,  looking  at  the  abbe  Pirard's  forehead,  for  he  could 
not  endure  that  terrible  gaze.  "  M.  Chelan  told  me  that  this 
is  a  place  of  informers  and  mischief-makers  of  all  kinds,  and 
that  spying  and  tale-bearing  by  one  comrade  on  another  was 
encouraged  by  the  authorities.  Heaven  wishes  it  to  be  so, 
so  as  to  show  life  such  as  it  is  to  the  young  priests,  and  fill 
them  with  disgust  for  the  world  and  all  its  pomps." 

"  And  it's  to  me  that  you  make  these  fine  speeches,"  said 
the  abbe  Pirard  furiously.     "  You  young  villain." 

"  My  brothers  used  to  beat  me  at  Verrieres,"  answered 
Julien  coldly,  "  When  they  had  occasion  to  be  jealous  of  me." 

"  Indeed,  indeed,"  exclaimed  M.  Pirard,  almost  beside 
himself. 

Julien  went  on  with  his  story  without  being  in  the  least 
intimidated : — 

"The  day  of  my  arrival  at  Besancon  I  was  hungry,  and  I 
entered  a  cafe.  My  spirit  was  full  of  revulsion  for  so  profane 
a  place,  but  I  thought  that  my  breakfast  would  cost  me  less 
than  at  an  inn.     A  lady,  who  seemed  to  be  the  mistress  of  the 


THE  WORLD,  OR  WHAT  THE  RICH  LACK    191 

establishment,  took  pity  on  my  inexperience.  '  Besan^on  is 
full  of  bad  characters,'  she  said  to  me.  '  I  fear  something 
will  happen  to  you,  sir.  If  some  mishap  should  occur  to  you, 
have  recourse  to  me  and  send  to  my  house  before  eight  o'clock. 
If  the  porters  of  the  seminary  refuse  to  execute  your  errand, 
say  you  are  my  cousin  and  a  native  of  Genlis.' " 

"  I  will  have  all  this  chatter  verified,"  exclaimed  the  abbe 
Pirard,  unable  to  stand  still,  and  walking  about  the  room. 

"  Back  to  the  cell." 

The  abbe  followed  Julien  and  locked  him  in.  The  latter 
immediately  began  to  examine  his  trunk,  at  the  bottom  of 
which  the  fatal  cards  had  been  so  carefully  hidden.  Nothing 
was  missing  in  the  trunk,  but  several  things  had  been  dis- 
arranged. Nevertheless,  he  had  never  been  without  the  key. 
What  luck  that,  during  the  whole  time  of  my  blindness,  said 
Julien  to  himself,  I  never  availed  myself  of  the  permission  to 
go  out  that  Monsieur  Castanede  would  offer  me  so  frequently, 
with  a  kindness  which  I  now  understand.  Perhaps  I  should 
have  had  the  weakness  to  have  changed  my  clothes  and  gone 
to  see  the  fair  Amanda,  and  then  I  should  have  been  ruined. 
When  they  gave  up  hope  of  exploiting  that  piece  of  informa- 
tion for  the  accomplishment  of  his  ruin,  they  had  used  it  to 
inform  against  him.  Two  hours  afterwards  the  director 
summoned  him. 

"  You  did  not  lie,"  he  said  to  him,  with  a  less  severe  look, 
"  but  keeping  an  address  like  that  is  an  indiscretion  of  a 
gravity  which  you  are  unable  to  realise.  Unhappy  child  !  It 
may  perhaps  do  you  harm  in  ten  years'  time." 


CHAPTER  XXVII 

FIRST    EXPERIENCE    OF   LIFE 

The  present  time,  Great  God  !  is  the  ark  of  the  Lord  ;  cursed 
be  he  who  touches  it. — Diderot. 

The  reader  will  kindly  excuse  us  if  we  give  very  few  clear  and 
definite  facts  concerning  this  period  of  Julien's  life.  It  is  not 
that  we  lack  facts ;  quite  the  contrary.  But  it  may  be  that 
what  he  saw  in  the  seminary  is  too  black  for  the  medium 
colour  which  the  author  has  endeavoured  to  preserve  through- 
out these  pages.  Those  of  our  contemporaries  who  have 
suffered  from  certain  things  cannot  remember  them  without  a 
horror  which  paralyses  every  other  pleasure,  even  that  of 
reading  a  tale. 

Julien  achieved  scant  success  in  his  essays  at  hypocritical 
gestures.  He  experienced  moments  of  disgust,  and  even  of 
complete  discouragement.  He  was  not  a  success,  even  in  a 
a  vile  career.  The  slightest  help  from  outside  would  have 
sufficed  to  have  given  him  heart  again,  for  the  difficulty  to 
overcome  was  not  very  great,  but  he  was  alone,  like  a  derelict 
ship  in  the  middle  of  the  ocean.  "  And  when  I  do  succeed," 
he  would  say  to  himself,  "  think  of  having  to  pass  a  whole 
lifetime  in  such  awful  company,  gluttons  who  have  no  thought 
but  for  the  large  omelette  which  they  will  guzzle  at  dinner- 
time, or  persons  like  the  abbe  Castanede,  who  finds  no  crime 
too  black  !  They  will  attain  power,  but,  great  heavens  !  at 
what  cost. 

"The  will  of  man  is  powerful,  I  read  it  everywhere,  but 
is  it  enough  to  overcome  so  great  a  disgust  ?  The  task  of  all 
the  great  men  was  easy  by  comparison.  However  terrible  was 
the  danger,  they  found  it  fine,  and  who  can  realise,  except 
myself,  the  ugliness  of  my  surroundings  ?  " 


FIRST  EXPERIENCE  OF  LIFE  193 

This  moment  was  the  most  trying  in  his  whole  life.  It 
would  have  been  so  easy  for  him  to  have  enlisted  in  one  of 
the  fine  regiments  at  the  garrison  of  Besancon.  He  could 
have  become  a  Latin  master.  He  needed  so  little  for  his 
subsistence,  but  in  that  case  no  more  career,  no  more  future 
for  his  imagination.  It  was  equivalent  to  death.  Here  is  one 
of  his  sad  days  in  detail : 

"  I  have  so  often  presumed  to  congratulate  myself  on  being 
different  from  the  other  young  peasants  !  Well,  I  have  lived 
enough  to  realise  that  difference  engenders  hate"  he  said  to 
himself  one  morning.  This  great  truth  had  just  been  borne 
in  upon  him  by  one  of  his  most  irritating  failures.  He  had 
been  working  for  eight  days  at  teaching  a  pupil  who  lived  in 
an  odour  of  sanctity.  He  used  to  go  out  with  him  into  the 
courtyard  and  listen  submissively  to  pieces  of  fatuity  enough 
to  send  one  to  sleep  standing.  Suddenly  the  weather  turned 
stormy.  The  thunder  growled,  and  the  holy  pupil  exclaimed 
as  he  roughly  pushed  him  away. 

"  Listen  !  Everyone  for  himself  in  this  world.  I  don't 
want  to  be  burned  by  the  thunder.  God  may  strike  you  with 
lightning  like  a  blasphemer,  like  a  Voltaire." 

"  I  deserve  to  be  drowned  if  I  go  to  sleep  during  the 
storm,"  exclaimed  Julien,  with  his  teeth  clenched  with  rage, 
and  with  his  eyes  opened  towards  the  sky  now  furrowed  by 
the  lightning.  "  Let  us  try  the  conquest  of  some  other 
rogue." 

The  bell  rang  for  the  abbe  Castanede's  course  of  sacred 
history.  That  day  the  abbe  Castanede  was  teaching  those 
young  peasants  already  so  frightened  by  their  father's  hard- 
ships and  poverty,  that  the  Government,  that  entity  so  terrible 
in  their  eyes,  possessed  no  real  and  legitimate  power  except 
by  virtue  of  the  delegation  of  God's  vicar  on  earth. 

"  Render  yourselves  worthy,  by  the  holiness  of  your  life 
and  by  your  obedience,  of  the  benevolence  of  the  Pope.  Be 
like  a  stick  in  his  hands"  he  added,  "  and  you  will  obtain  a 
superb  position,  where  you  will  be  far  from  all  control,  and 
enjoy  the  King's  commands,  a  position  from  which  you 
cannot  be  removed,  and  where  one-third  of  the  salary  is 
paid  by  the  Government,  while  the  faithful  who  are  moulded 
by  your  preaching  pay  the  other  two-thirds." 

Castanede  stopped  in  the  courtyard  after  he  left  the  lesson- 

13 


i94       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

room.  "  It  is  particularly  appropriate  to  say  of  a  cure,"  he 
said  to  the  pupils  who  formed  a  ring  round  him,  "  that  the 
place  is  worth  as  much  as  the  man  is  worth.  I  myself  have 
known  parishes  in  the  mountains  where  the  surplice  fees  were 
worth  more  than  that  of  many  town  livings.  There  was  quite 
as  much  money,  without  counting  the  fat  capons,  the  eggs, 
fresh  butter,  and  a  thousand  and  one  pleasant  details,  and 
there  the  cure  is  indisputably  the  first  man.  There  is  not  a 
good  meal  to  which  he  is  not  invited,  feted,  etc." 

Castanede  had  scarcely  gone  back  to  his  room  before  the 
pupils  split  up  into  knots.  Julien  did  not  form  part  of  any  of 
them ;  he  was  left  out  like  a  black  sheep.  He  saw  in  every 
knot  a  pupil  tossing  a  coin  in  the  air,  and  if  he  managed  to 
guess  right  in  this  game  of  heads  or  tails,  his  comrades  would 
decide  that  he  would  soon  have  one  of  those  fat  livings. 

Anecdotes  ensued.  A  certain  young  priest,  who  had 
scarcely  been  ordained  a  year,  had  given  a  tame  rabbit  to  the 
maidservant  of  an  old  cure,  and  had  succeeded  in  being  asked 
to  be  his  curate.  In  a  few  months  afterwards,  for  the  cure 
had  quickly  died,  he  had  replaced  him  in  that  excellent  living. 
Another  had  succeeded  in  getting  himself  designated  as  a 
successor  to  a  very  rich  town  living,  by  being  present  at  all 
the  meals  of  an  old,  paralytic  cure,  and  by  dexterously  carving 
his  poultry.  The  seminarists,  like  all  young  people,  exag- 
gerated the  effect  of  those  little  devices,  which  have  an 
element  of  originality,  and  which  strike  the  imagination. 

"  I  must  take  part  in  these  conversations,"  said  Julien  to 
himself.  When  they  did  not  talk  about  sausages  and  good 
livings,  the  conversation  ran  on  the  worldly  aspect  of  ecclesi- 
astical doctrine,  on  the  differences  of  bishops  and  prefects,  of 
mayors  and  cures.  Julien  caught  sight  of  the  conception  of 
a  second  god,  but  of  a  god  who  was  much  more  formid- 
able and  much  more  powerful  than  the  other  one.  That 
second  god  was  the  Pope.  They  said  among  themselves,  in 
a  low  voice,  however,  and  when  they  were  quite  sure  that  they 
would  not  be  heard  by  Pirard,  that  the  reason  for  the  Pope 
not  taking  the  trouble  of  nominating  all  the  prefects  and 
mayors  of  France,  was  that  he  had  entrusted  that  duty  to  the 
King  of  France  by  entitling  him  a  senior  son  of  the  Church. 

It  was  about  this  time  that  Julien  thought  he  could  exploit, 
for  the  benefit  of  his  own  reputation,  his  knowledge  of  De 


FIRST  EXPERIENCE  OF  LIFE  195 

Maistre's  book  on  the  Pope.  In  point  of  fact,  he  did  astonish 
his  comrades,  but  it  was  only  another  misfortune.  He  dis- 
pleased them  by  expounding  their  own  opinions  better  than 
they  could  themselves.  Chelan  had  acted  as  imprudently  for 
Julien  as  he  had  for  himself.  He  had  given  him  the  habit  of 
reasoning  correctly,  and  of  not  being  put  off  by  empty  words, 
but  he  had  neglected  to  tell  him  that  this  habit  was  a  crime  in 
the  person  of  no  importance,  since  every  piece  of  logical 
reasoning  is  offensive. 

Julien's  command  of  language  added  consequently  a  new 
crime  to  his  score.  By  dint  of  thinking  about  him,  his 
colleagues  succeeded  in  expressing  the  horror  with  which  he 
would  inspire  them  by  a  single  expression ;  they  nicknamed 
him  Martin  Luther,  "particularly,"  they  said,  "because  of 
that  infernal  logic  which  makes  him  so  proud." 

Several  young  seminarists  had  a  fresher  complexion  than 
Julien,  and  could  pass  as  better-looking,  but  he  had  white 
hands,  and  was  unable  to  conceal  certain  refined  habits  of 
personal  cleanliness.  This  advantage  proved  a  disadvantage 
in  the  gloomy  house  in  which  chance  had  cast  him.  This 
dirty  peasants  among  whom  he  lived  asserted  that  he  had  very 
abandoned  morals.  We  fear  that  we  may  weary  our  reader 
by  a  narration  of  the  thousand  and  one  misfortunes  of  our 
hero.  The  most  vigorous  of  his  comrades,  for  example, 
wanted  to  start  the  custom  of  beating  him.  He  was  obliged 
to  arm  himself  with  an  iron  compass,  and  to  indicate,  though 
by  signs,  that  he  would  make  use  of  it.  Signs  cannot  figure 
in  a  spy's  report  to  such  good  advantage  as  words. 


CHAPTER  XXVIII 

A   PROCESSION 

All  hearts  were  moved.     The  presence  of  God  seemed 
to  have  descended  into  these  narrow  Gothic  streets  that 
stretched  in  every  direction,  and  were  sanded  by  the  care 
of  the  faithful.  —  Young. 

It  was  in  vain  that  Julien  pretended  to  be  petty  and  stupid. 
He  could  not  please ;  he  was  too  different.  Yet  all  these  pro- 
fessors, he  said  to  himself,  are  very  clever  people,  men  in  a 
thousand.  Why  do  they  not  like  my  humility  ?  Only  one 
seemed  to  take  advantage  of  his  readiness  to  believe  every- 
thing, and  apparently  to  swallow  everything.  This  was  the 
abbe  Chas -Bernard,  the  director  of  the  ceremonies  of  the 
cathedral,  where,  for  the  last  fifteen  years,  he  had  been  given 
occasion  to  hope  for  a  canonry.  While  waiting,  he  taught 
homiletics  at  the  seminary.  During  the  period  of  Julien's 
blindness,  this  class  was  one  of  those  in  which  he  most  fre- 
quently came  out  top.  The  abbe  Chas  had  used  this  as  an 
opportunity  to  manifest  some  friendship  to  him,  and  when  the 
class  broke  up,  he  would  be  glad  to  take  him  by  the  arm  for 
some  turns  in  the  garden. 

"  What  is  he  getting  at,"  Julien  would  say  to  himself.  He 
noticed  with  astonishment  that,  for  hours  on  end,  the  abbe 
would  talk  to  him  about  the  ornaments  possessed  by  the 
cathedral.  It  had  seventeen  lace  chasubles,  besides  the 
mourning  vestments.  A  lot  was  hoped  from  the  old  wife  of 
the  judge  de  Rubempre.  This  lady,  who  was  ninety  years  of 
age,  had  kept  for  at  least  seventy  years  her  wedding  dress  of 
superb  Lyons  material,  embroidered  with  gold. 

"  Imagine,  my  friend,"  the  abbe  Chas  would  say,  stopping 
abruptly,  and   staring   with   amazement,  "that   this  material 


A  PROCESSION  197 

keeps  quite  stiff.  There  is  so  much  gold  in  it.  It  is  generally 
thought  in  Besancon  that  the  will  of  the  judge's  wife  will  result 
in  the  cathedral  treasure  being  increased  by  more  than  ten 
chasubles,  without  counting  four  or  five  capes  for  the  great 
feast.  I  will  go  further,"  said  the  abbe  Chas,  lowering  his 
voice,  "  I  have  reasons  for  thinking  the  judge's  wife  will  leave 
us  her  magnificent  silver  gilt  candlesticks,  supposed  to  have 
been  bought  in  Italy  by  Charles  the  Bold,  Duke  of  Burgundy, 
whose  favourite  minister  was  one  of  the  good  lady's  ancestors." 

"  But  what  is  the  fellow  getting  at  with  all  this  old  clothes 
business,"  thought  Julien.  "  These  adroit  preliminaries  have 
been  going  on  for  centuries,  and  nothing  comes  of  them.  He 
must  be  very  suspicious  of  me.  He  is  cleverer  than  all  the 
others,  whose  secret  aim  can  be  guessed  so  easily  in  a  fort- 
night. I  understand.  He  must  have  been  suffering  for 
fifteen  years  from  mortified  ambition." 

Julien  was  summoned  one  evening  in  the  middle  of  the 
fencing  lesson  to  the  abbe  Pirard,  who  said  to  him. 

"  To-morrow  is  the  feast  of  Corpus  Domini  (the  Fete  Dieu) 
the  abbe  Chas-Bernard  needs  you  to  help  him  to  decorate  the 
cathedral.  Go  and  obey."  The  abbe  Pirard  called  him 
back  and  added  sympathetically.  "  It  depends  on  you 
whether  you  will  utilise  the  occasion  to  go  into  the  town." 

"  Incedo  per  ignes,"  answered  Julien.  (I  have  secret 
enemies). 

Julien  went  to  the  cathedral  next  morning  with  downcast 
eyes.  The  sight  of  the  streets  and  the  activity  which  was 
beginning  to  prevail  in  the  town  did  him  good.  In  all  quarters 
they  were  extending  the  fronts  of  the  houses  for  the  procession. 

All  the  time  that  he  had  passed  in  the  seminary  seemed  to 
him  no  more  than  a  moment.  His  thoughts  were  of  Vergy, 
and  of  the  pretty  Amanda  whom  he  might  perhaps  meet,  for 
her  cafe  was  not  very  far  off.  He  saw  in  the  distance  the 
abbe  Chas-Bernard  on  the  threshold  of  his  beloved  cathedral. 
He  was  a  big  man  with  a  jovial  face  and  a  frank  air.  To-day 
he  looked  triumphant.  "  I  was  expecting  you,  my  dear  son," 
he  cried  as  soon  as  he  saw  Julien  in  the  distance.  "  Be 
welcome.  This  day's  duty  will  be  protracted  and  arduous. 
Let  us  fortify  ourselves  by  a  first  breakfast.  We  will  have  the 
second  at  ten  o'clock  during  high  mass." 

"  I  do  not  wish,  sir,"  said  Julien  to  him  gravely,  "  to  be 


198       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

alone  for  a  single  instant.  Deign  to  observe,"  he  added, 
showing  him  the  clock  over  their  heads,  "  that  I  have  arrived 
at  one  minute  to  five." 

"So  those  little  rascals  at  the  seminary  frightened  you.  It 
is  very  good  of  you  to  think  of  them,"  said  the  abbe.  "  But  is 
the  road  less  beautiful  because  there  are  thorns  in  the  hedges 
which  border  it.  Travellers  go  on  their  way,  and  leave  the 
wicked  thorns  to  wait  in  vain  where  they  are.  And  now  to 
work  my  dear  friend,  to  work" 

The  abbe  Chas  was  right  in  saying  that  the  task  would  be 
arduous.  There  had  been  a  great  funeral  ceremony  at  the 
cathedral  the  previous  day.  They  had  not  been  able  to  make 
any  preparations.  They  had  consequently  only  one  morning 
for  dressing  all  the  Gothic  pillars  which  constitute  the  three 
naves  with  a  kind  of  red  damask  cloth  ascending  to  a  height  of 
thirty  feet.  The  Bishop  had  fetched  by  mail  four  decorators 
from  Paris,  but  these  gentry  were  not  able  to  do  everything, 
and  far  from  giving  any  encouragement  to  the  clumsiness  of 
the  Besancon  colleagues,  they  made  it  twice  as  great  by 
making  fun  of  them. 

Julien  saw  that  he  would  have  to  climb  the  ladder  himself. 
His  agility  served  him  in  good  stead.  He  undertook  the 
direction  of  the  decorators  from  town.  The  Abbe  Chas  was 
delighted  as  he  watched  him  flit  from  ladder  to  ladder.  When 
all  the  pillars  were  dressed  in  damask,  five  enormous  bouquets 
of  feathers  had  to  be  placed  on  the  great  baldachin  above  the 
grand  altar.  A  rich  coping  of  gilded  wood  was  supported  by 
eight  big  straight  columns  of  Italian  marble,  but  to  reach  the 
centre  of  the  baldachin  above  the  tabernacle  involved  walking 
over  an  old  wooden  cornice  which  was  forty  feet  high  and 
possibly  worm-eaten. 

The  sight  of  this  difficult  crossing  had  extinguished  the 
gaiety  of  the  Parisian  decorators,  which  up  till  then  had  been 
so  brilliant.  They  looked  at  it  from  down  below,  argued 
a  great  deal,  but  did  not  go  up.  Julien  seized  hold  of  the 
bouquets  of  feathers  and  climbed  the  ladder  at  a  run.  He 
placed  it  neatly  on  the  crown-shaped  ornament  in  the  centre 
of  the  baldachin.  When  he  came  down  the  ladder  again,  the 
abbe  Chas-Bernard  embraced  him  in  his  arms. 

"  Optime"  exclaimed  the  good  priest,  "  I  will  tell  this  to 
Monseigneur.' 


A  PROCESSION  19, 

Breakfast  at  ten  o'clock  was  very  gay.  The  abbe  Chas  had 
never  seen  his  church  look  so  beautiful. 

"  Dear  disciple,"  he  said  to  Julien.  "  My  mother  used  to 
let  out  chairs  in  this  venerable  building,  so  I  have  been 
brought  up  in  this  great  edifice.  The  Terror  of  Robespierre 
ruined  us,  but  when  I  was  eight  years  old,  that  was  my 
age  then,  I  used  to  serve  masses  in  private  houses,  so  you 
see  I  got  my  meals  on  mass-days.  Nobody  could  fold  a 
chasuble  better  than  I  could,  and  I  never  cut  the  fringes. 
After  the  re-establishment  of  public  worship  by  Napoleon, 
I  had  the  good  fortune  to  direct  everything  in  this  venerable 
metropolis.  Five  times  a  year  do  my  eyes  see  it  adorned  with 
these  fine  ornaments.  But  it  has  never  been  so  resplendent, 
and  the  damask  breadths  have  never  been  so  well  tied  or  so 
close  to  the  pillars  as  they  are  to-day." 

"  So  he  is  going  to  tell  me  his  secret  at  last,"  said  Julien. 
M  Now  he  is  going  to  talk  about  himself.  He  is  expanding." 
But  nothing  imprudent  was  said  by  the  man  in  spite  of  his 
evident  exaltation. 

"  All  the  same  he  has  worked  a  great  deal,"  said  Julien  to 
himself.  "  He  is  happy.  What  a  man  !  What  an  example 
for  me  !  He  really  takes  the  cake."  (This  was  a  vulgar  phrase 
which  he  had  learned  from  the  old  surgeon). 

As  the  sanctus  of  high  mass  sounded,  Julien  wanted  to  take 
a  surplice  to  follow  the  bishop  in  the  superb  procession- 
"  And  the  thieves,  my  friend  !  And  the  thieves,"  exclaimed 
the  abbe  Chas.  "  Have  you  forgotten  them  ?  The  procession 
will  go  out,  but  we  will  watch,  will  you  and  I.  We  shall  be 
very  lucky  if  we  get  off  with  the  loss  of  a  couple  of  ells  of  this 
fine  lace  which  surrounds  the  base  of  the  pillars.  It  is  a  gift 
of  Madame  de  Rubempre.  It  comes  from  her  great-grand- 
father the  famous  Count.  It  is  made  of  real  gold,  my  friend," 
added  the  abbe  in  a  whisper,  and  with  evident  exaltation. 
"  And  all  genuine.  I  entrust  you  with  the  watching  of  the 
north  wing.  Do  not  leave  it.  I  will  keep  the  south  wing  and 
the  great  nave  for  myself.  Keep  an  eye  on  the  confessional. 
It  is  there  that  the  women  accomplices  of  the  thieves  always 
spy.     Look  out  for  the  moment  when  we  turn  our  backs." 

As  he  finished  speaking,  a  quarter  to  twelve  struck.  Im- 
mediately afterwards  the  sound  of  the  great  clock  was  heard. 
It  rang  a  full  peal.    These  full  solemn    ounds  affected  Julien. 


zoo       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

His  imagination  was  no  longer  turned  to  things  earthly.  The 
perfume  of  the  incense  and  of  the  rose  leaves  thrown  before 
the  holy  sacrament  by  little  children  disguised  as  St.  John 
increased  his  exaltation. 

Logically  the  grave  sounds  of  the  bell  should  only  have 
recalled  to  Julien's  mind  the  thought  of  the  labour  of  twenty 
men  paid  fifty-four  centimes  each,  and  possibly  helped  by 
fifteen  or  twenty  faithful  souls.  Logically,  he  ought  to  have 
thought  of  the  wear  and  tear  of  the  cords  and  of  the  framework 
and  of  the  danger  of  the  clock  itself,  which  falls  down  every 
two  centuries,  and  to  have  considered  the  means  of  diminishing 
the  salary  of  the  bell-ringers,  or  of  paying  them  by  some 
indulgence  or  other  grace  dispensed  from  the  treasures  of  the 
Church  without  diminishing  its  purse. 

Julien's  soul  exalted  by  these  sounds  with  all  their  virile 
fulness,  instead  of  making  these  wise  reflections,  wandered  in 
the  realm  of  imagination.  He  will  never  turn  out  a  good 
priest  or  a  good  administrator.  Souls  which  get  thrilled  so 
easily  are  at  the  best  only  capable  of  producing  an  artist.  At 
this  moment  the  presumption  of  Julien  bursts  out  into  full 
view.  Perhaps  fifty  of  his  comrades  in  the  seminary  made 
attentive  to  the  realities  of  life  by  their  own  unpopularity  and 
the  Jacobinism  which  they  are  taught  to  see  hiding  behind 
every  hedge,  would  have  had  no  other  thought  suggested  by 
the  great  bell  of  the  cathedral  except  the  wages  of  the  ringers. 
They  would  have  analysed  with  the  genius  of  Bareme  whether 
the  intensity  of  the  emotion  produced  among  the  public  was 
worth  the  money  which  was  given  to  the  ringers.  If  Julien 
had  only  tried  to  think  of  the  material  interests  of  the  cathedral, 
his  imagination  would  have  transcended  its  actual  object  and 
thought  of  economizing  forty  francs  on  the  fabric  and  have 
lost  the  opportunity  of  avoiding  an  expense  of  twenty-five 
centimes. 

While  the  procession  slowly  traversed  Besanr^on  on  the 
finest  day  imaginable,  and  stopped  at  the  brilliant  altar-stations 
put  up  by  the  authorities,  the  church  remained  in  profound 
silence.  There  prevailed  a  semi-obscurity,  an  agreeable  fresh- 
ness. It  was  still  perfumed  with  the  fragrance  of  flowers  and 
incense. 

The  silence,  the  deep  solitude,  the  freshness  of  the  long 
naves  sweetened   Julien's  reverie.      He  did  not   fear  being 


A  PROCESSION  201 

troubled  by  the  abbe  Chas,  who  was  engaged  in  another  part 
of  the  building.  His  soul  had  almost  abandoned  its  mortal 
tenement,  which  was  pacing  slowly  the  north  wing  which  had 
been  trusted  to  his  surveillance.  He  was  all  the  more  tranquil 
when  he  had  assured  himself  that  there  was  no  one  in  the 
confessional  except  some  devout  women.  His  eyes  looked  in 
front  of  him  seeing  nothing. 

His  reverie  was  almost  broken  by  the  sight  of  two  well- 
dressed  women,  one  in  the  Confessional,  and  the  other  on 
a  chair  quite  near  her.  He  looked  without  seeing,  but 
noticed,  however,  either  by  reason  of  some  vague  apprecia- 
tion of  his  duties  or  admiration  for  the  aristocratic  but 
simple  dress  of  the  ladies,  that  there  was  no  priest  in  the 
Confessional. 

"  It  is  singular,"  he  thought,  "  that  if  these  fair  ladies  are 
devout,  they  are  not  kneeling  before  some  altar,  or  that  if  they 
are  in  society  they  have  not  an  advantageous  position  in  the 
first  row  of  some  balcony.  How  well  cut  that  dress  is  !  How 
graceful ! " 

He  slackened  his  pace  to  try  and  look  at  them.  The  lady 
who  was  kneeling  in  the  Confessional  turned  her  head  a  little 
hearing  the  noise  of  Julien's  step  in  this  solemn  place. 
Suddenly  she  gave  a  loud  cry,  and  felt  ill. 

As  the  lady  collapsed  and  fell  backwards  on  her  knees, 
her  friend  who  was  near  her  hastened  to  help  her.  At  the 
same  time  Julien  saw  the  shoulders  of  the  lady  who  was  falling 
backwards.  His  eyes  were  struck  by  a  twisted  necklace  of 
fine,  big  pearls,  which  he  knew  well.  What  were  his  emotions 
when  he  recognised  the  hair  of  Madame  de  Renal  ?  It  was 
she  !  The  lady  who  was  trying  to  prevent  her  from  falling  was 
Madame  Derville.  Julien  was  beside  himself  and  hastened  to 
their  side.  Madame  de  Renal's  fall  would  perhaps  have  carried 
her  friend  along  with  her,  if  Julien  had  not  supported  them. 
He  saw  the  head  of  Madame  de  Renal,  pale  and  entirely 
devoid  of  consciousness  floating  on  his  shoulder.  He  helped 
Madame  Derville  to  lean  that  charming  head  up  against  a 
straw  chair.     He  knelt  down. 

Madame  Derville  turned  round  and  recognised  him. 

"  Away,  monsieur,  away  ! "  she  said  to  him,  in  a  tone  of  the 
most  lively  anger.  "Above  all,  do  not  let  her  see  you  again.  The 
sight  of  you  would  be  sure  to  horrify  her.     She  was  so  happy 


tea  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

before  you  came.  Your  conduct  is  atrocious.  Flee  !  Take 
yourself  off  if  you  have  any  shame  left." 

These  words  were  spoken  with  so  much  authority,  and 
Julien  felt  so  weak,  that  he  did  take  himself  off.  "  She  always 
hated  me,"  he  said  to  himself,  thinking  of  Madame  Derville. 
At  the  same  moment  the  nasal  chanting  of  the  first  priests  in 
the  procession  which  was  now  coming  back  resounded  in  the 
church.  The  abbe  Chas-Bernard  called  Julien,  who  at  first 
did  not  hear  him,  several  times.  He  came  at  last  and  took 
his  arm  behind  a  pillar  where  Julien  had  taken  refuge  more 
dead  than  alive.     He  wanted  to  present  him  to  the  Bishop. 

"  Are  you  feeling  well,  my  child  ? "  said  the  abbe  to  him, 
seeing  him  so  pale,  and  almost  incapable  of  walking.  "  You 
have  worked  too  much."  The  abbe  gave  him  his  arm. 
"  Come,  sit  down  behind  me  here,  on  the  little  seat  of  the 
dispenser  of  holy  water ;  I  will  hide  you." 

They  were  now  beside  the  main  door. 

"  Calm  yourself.  We  have  still  a  good  twenty  minutes 
before  Monseigneur  appears.  Try  and  pull  yourself  together. 
I  will  lift  you  up  when  he  passes,  for  in  spite  of  my  age,  I  am 
strong  and  vigorous." 

Julien  was  trembling  so  violently  when  the  Bishop  passed, 
that  the  abbe  Chas  gave  up  the  idea  of  presenting  him. 

"  Do  not  take  it  too  much  to  heart,"  he  said.  "  I  will  find 
another  opportunity." 

The  same  evening  he  had  six  pounds  of  candles  which  had 
been  saved,  he  said,  by  Julien's  carefulness,  and  by  the 
promptness  with  which  he  had  extinguished  them,  carried  to 
the  seminary  chapel.  Nothing  could  have  been  nearer  the 
truth.  The  poor  boy  was  extinguished  himself.  He  had  not 
had  a  single  thought  after  meeting  Madame  de  Renal. 


CHAPTER  XXIX 

THE    FIRST   PROMOTION 

He  knew  his  age,  he  knew  his  department,  and  he  is  rich. 

The  Forerunner. 

Julien  had  not  emerged  from  the  deep  reverie  in  which  the 
episode  in  the  cathedral  had  plunged  him,  when  the  severe 
abbe  Pirard  summoned  him. 

"  M.  the  abbe  Chas-Bernard  has  just  written  in  your 
favour.  I  am  on  the  whole  sufficiently  satisfied  with  your 
conduct.  You  are  extremely  imprudent  and  irresponsible 
without  outward  signs  of  it.  However,  up  to  the  present,  you 
have  proved  yourself  possessed  of  a  good  and  even  generous 
heart.  Your  intellect  is  superior.  Taking  it  all  round,  I  see 
in  you  a  spark  which  one  must  not  neglect. 

"  I  am  on  the  point  of  leaving  this  house  after  fifteen  years 
of  work.  My  crime  is  that  I  have  left  the  seminarists  to  their 
free  will,  and  that  I  have  neither  protected  nor  served  that 
secret  society  of  which  you  spoke  to  me  at  the  Confessional. 
I  wish  to  do  something  for  you  before  I  leave.  I  would  have 
done  so  two  months  earlier,  for  you  deserve  it,  had  it  not  been 
for  the  information  laid  against  you  as  the  result  of  the  finding 
in  your  trunk  of  Amanda  Binet's  address.  I  will  make  you 
New  and  Old  Testament  tutor.  Julien  was  transported  with 
gratitude  and  evolved  the  idea  of  throwing  himself  on  his  knees 
and  thanking  God.  He  yielded  to  a  truer  impulse,  and 
approaching  the  abbe  Pirard,  took  his  hand  and  pressed  it  to 
his  lips. 

"What  is  the  meaning  of  this?"  exclaimed  the  director 
angrily,  but  Julien's  eyes  said  even  more  than  his  act. 

The  abbe  Pirard  looked  at  him  in  astonishment,  after  the 
manner  of  a  man  who  has  long  lost  the  habit  of  encountering 


204       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

refined  emotions.     The  attention  deceived  the  director.     His 
voice  altered. 

"  Well  yes,  my  child,  I  am  attached  to  you.  Heaven  knows 
that  I  have  been  so  in  spite  of  myself.  I  ought  to  show 
neither  hate  nor  love  to  anyone.  I  see  in  you  something  which 
offends  the  vulgar.  Jealousy  and  calumny  will  pursue  you  in 
whatever  place  Providence  may  place  you.  Your  comrades 
will  never  behold  you  without  hate,  and  if  they  pretend  to 
like  you,  it  will  only  be  to  betray  you  with  greater  certainty. 
For  this  there  is  only  one  remedy.  Seek  help  only  from  God, 
who,  to  punish  you  for  your  presumption,  has  cursed  you  with 
the  inevitable  hatred  of  your  comrades.  Let  your  conduct  be 
pure.  That  is  the  only  resource  which  I  can  see  for  you.  If 
you  love  truth  with  an  irresistible  embrace,  your  enemies  will 
sooner  or  later  be  confounded." 

It  had  been  so  long  since  Julien  had  heard  a  friendly  voice 
that  he  must  be  forgiven  a  weakness.  He  burst  out  into 
tears. 

The  abbe  Pirard  held  out  his  arms  to  him.  This  moment 
was  very  sweet  to  both  of  them.  Julien  was  mad  with  joy. 
This  promotion  was  the  first  which  he  had  obtained.  The 
advantages  were  immense.  To  realise  them  one  must  have 
been  condemned  to  pass  months  on  end  without  an  instant's 
solitude,  and  in  immediate  contact  with  comrades  who  were  at 
the  best  importunate,  and  for  the  most  part  insupportable. 
Their  cries  alone  would  have  sufficed  to  disorganise  a  delicate 
constitution.  The  noise  and  joy  of  these  peasants,  well-fed 
and  well-clothed  as  they  were,  could  only  find  a  vent  for  itself, 
or  believe  in  its  own  completeness  when  they  were  shouting 
with  all  the  strength  of  their  lungs. 

Now  Julien  dined  alone,  or  nearly  an  hour  later  than  the 
other  seminarists.  He  had  a  key  of  the  garden  and  could  walk 
in  it  when  no  one  else  was  there. 

Julien  was  astonished  to  perceive  that  he  was  now  hated 
less.  He,  on  the  contrary,  had  been  expecting  that  their 
hate  would  become  twice  as  intense.  That  secret  desire  of 
his  that  he  should  not  be  spoken  to,  which  had  been  only  too 
manifest  before,  and  had  earned  him  so  many  enemies,  was 
no  longer  looked  upon  as  a  sign  of  ridiculous  haughtiness. 
It  became,  in  the  eyes  of  the  coarse  beings  who  surrounded 
him,  a  just  appreciation  of  his  own  dignity.      The  hatred  of 


THE  FIRST  PROMOTION  205 

him  sensibly  diminished,  above  all  among  the  youngest  of  his 
comrades,  who  were  now  his  pupils,  and  whom  he  treated 
with  much  politeness.  Gradually  he  obtained  his  own 
following.  It  became  looked  upon  as  bad  form  to  call  him 
Martin  Luther. 

But  what  is  the  good  of  enumerating  his  friends  and  his 
enemies?  The  whole  business  is  squalid,  and  all  the  more 
squalid  in  proportion  to  the  truth  of  the  picture.  And  yet 
the  clergy  supply  the  only  teachers  of  morals  which  the  people 
have.  What  would  happen  to  the  people  without  them  ? 
Will  the  paper  ever  replace  the  cure  ? 

Since  Julien's  new  dignity,  the  director  of  the  seminary 
made  a  point  of  never  speaking  to  him  without  witnesses. 
These  tactics  were  prudent,  both  for  the  master  and  for  the 
pupil,  but  above  all  it  was  meant  for  a  test.  The  invariable 
principle  of  that  severe  Jansenist  Pirard  was  this — "if  a  man 
has  merit  in  your  eyes,  put  obstacles  in  the  way  of  all  he 
desires,  and  of  everything  which  he  undertakes.  If  the  merit 
is  real,  he  will  manage  to  overthrow  or  get  round  those 
obstacles." 

It  was  the  hunting  season.  It  had  occurred  to  Fouque  to 
send  a  stag  and  a  boar  to  the  seminary  as  though  they  came 
from  Julien's  parents.  The  dead  animals  were  put  down  on 
the  floor  between  the  kitchen  and  the  refectory.  It  was  there 
that  they  were  seen  by  all  the  seminarists  on  their  way  to 
dinner.  They  constituted  a  great  attraction  for  their  curiosity. 
The  boar,  dead  though  it  was,  made  the  youngest  ones  feel 
frightened.  They  touched  its  tusks.  They  talked  of  nothing 
else  for  a  whole  week. 

This  gift,  which  raised  Julien's  family  to  the  level  of  that 
class  of  society  which  deserves  respect,  struck  a  deadly  blow 
at  all  jealousy.  He  enjoyed  a  superiority,  consecrated  by 
fortune.  Chazel,  the  most  distinguished  of  the  seminarists, 
made  advances  to  him,  and  always  reproached  him  for  not 
having  previously  apprised  them  of  his  parents'  position  and 
had  thus  involved  them  in  treating  money  without  sufficient 
respect.  A  conscription  took  place,  from  which  Julien,  in 
his  capacity  as  seminarist,  was  exempt.  This  circumstance 
affected  him  profoundly.  "So  there  is  just  passed  for  ever 
that  moment  which,  twenty  years  earlier,  would  have  seen  my 
heroic   life   begin.     He  was  walking  alone  in    the   seminary 


206  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

garden.  He  heard  the  masons  who  were  walling  up  the 
cloister  walls  talking  between  themselves. 

"  Yes,  we  must  go.  There's  the  new  conscription.  When 
the  other  was  alive  it  was  good  business.  A  mason  could 
become  an  officer  then,  could  become  a  general  then.  One 
has  seen  such  things." 

"  You  go  and  see  now.  It's  only  the  ragamuffins  who 
leave  for  the  army.  Any  one  who  has  anything  stays  in  the 
country  here." 

"  The  man  who  is  born  wretched  stays  wretched,  and  there 
you  are." 

"  I  say,  is  it  true  what  they  say,  that  the  other  is  dead  ? " 
put  in  the  third  mason. 

"  Oh  well,  it's  the  '  big  men '  who  say  that,  you  see.  The 
other  one  made  them  afraid." 

"  What  a  difference.  How  the  fortification  went  ahead  in  his 
time.    And  to  think  of  his  being  betrayed  by  his  own  marshals." 

This  conversation  consoled  Julien  a  little.  As  he  went 
away,  he  repeated  with  a  sigh  : 

"  Le  seul  roi  dont  le  peuple  a  garde  la  memore." 

The  time  for  the  examination  arrived.  Julien  answered 
brilliantly.  He  saw  that  Chazel  endeavoured  to  exhibit  all 
his  knowledge.  On  the  first  day  the  examiners,  nominated  by 
the  famous  Grand  Vicar  de  Frilair,  were  very  irritated  at 
always  having  to  put  first,  or  at  any  rate  second,  on  their  list, 
that  Julien  Sorel,  who  had  been  designated  to  them  as  the 
Benjamin  of  the  Abbe  Pirard.  There  were  bets  in  the 
seminary  that  Julien  would  come  out  first  in  the  final  list  of 
the  examination,  a  privilege  which  carried  with  it  the  honour 
of  dining  with  my  Lord  Bishop.  But  at  the  end  of  a  sitting, 
dealing  with  the  fathers  of  the  Church,  an  adroit  examiner, 
having  first  interrogated  Julien  on  Saint  Jerome  and  his 
passion  for  Cicero,  went  on  to  speak  about  Horace,  Virgil  and 
other  profane  authors.  Julien  had  learnt  by  heart  a  great 
number  of  passages  from  these  authors  without  his  comrades, 
knowledge.  Swept  away  by  his  successes,  he  forgot  the  place 
where  he  was,  and  recited  in  paraphrase  with  spirit  several 
odes  of  Horace  at  the  repeated  request  of  the  examiner. 
Having  for  twenty  minutes  given  him  enough  rope  to  hang 
himself,  the  examiner  changed  his  expression,  and  bitterly 
reproached  him  for  the  time  he  had  wasted  on  these  profane 


THE  FIRST  PROMOTION  207 

studies,  and  the  useless  or  criminal  ideas  which  he  had  got 
into  his  head. 

"  1  am  a  fool,  sir  You  are  right,"  said  Julien  modestly, 
realising  the  adroit  stratagem  of  which  he  was  the  victim. 

This  examiner's  dodge  was  considered  dirty,  even  at  the 
seminary,  but  this  did  not  prevent  the  abbe  de  Frilair,  that 
adroit  individual  who  had  so  cleverly  organised  the  machinery 
of  the  Besancon  congregation,  and  whose  despatches  to  Paris 
put  fear  into  the  hearts  of  judges,  prefect,  and  even  the 
generals  of  the  garrison,  from  placing  with  his  powerful  hand 
the  number  198  against  Julien's  name.  He  enjoyed  subject- 
ing his  enemy,  Pirard  the  Jansenist,  to  this  mortification. 

His  chief  object  for  the  last  ten  years  had  been  to  deprive 
him  of  the  headship  of  the  seminary.  The  abbe,  who  had 
himself  followed  the  plan  which  he  had  indicated  to  Julien, 
was  sincere,  pious,  devoted  to  his  duties  and  devoid  of 
intrigue,  but  heaven  in  its  anger  had  given  him  that  bilious 
temperament  which  is  by  nature  so  deeply  sensitive  to  insults 
and  to  hate.  None  of  the  insults  which  were  addressed  to 
him  was  wasted  on  his  burning  soul.  He  would  have 
handed  in  his  resignation  a  hundred  times  over,  but  he 
believed  that  he  was  useful  in  the  place  where  Providence  had 
set  him.  "  I  prevent  the  progress  of  Jesuitism  and  Idolatry," 
he  said  to  himself. 

At  the  time  of  the  examinations,  it  was  perhaps  nearly 
two  months  since  he  had  spoken  to  Julien,  and  nevertheless, 
he  was  ill  for  eight  days  when,  on  receipt  of  the  official  letter 
announcing  the  result  of  the  competition,  he  saw  the  number 
198  placed  beside  the  name  of  that  pupil  whom  he  regarded 
as  the  glory  of  his  town.  This  stern  character  found  his  only 
consolation  in  concentrating  all  his  surveillance  on  Julien. 
He  was  delighted  that  he  discovered  in  him  neither  anger, 
nor  vindictiveness,  nor  discouragement. 

Julien  felt  a  thrill  some  months  afterwards  when  he  received 
a  letter.  It  bore  the  Paris  post-mark.  Madame  de  Renal  is 
remembering  her  promises  at  last,  he  thought.  A  gentleman 
who  signed  himself  Paul  Sorel,  and  who  said  that  he  was  his 
relative,  sent  him  a  letter  of  credit  for  five  hundred  francs. 
The  writer  went  on  to  add  that  if  Julien  went  on  to  study 
successfully  the  good  Latin  authors,  a  similar  sum  would  be 
sent  to  him  every  year. 


208       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"  It  is  she.  It  is  her  kindness,"  said  Julien  to  himself, 
feeling  quite  overcome.  "She  wishes  to  console  me.  But 
why  not  a  single  word  of  affection  ?  " 

He  was  making  a  mistake  in  regard  to  this  letter,  for 
Madame  de  Renal,  under  the  influence  of  her  friend,  Madame 
Derville,  was  abandoning  herself  absolutely  to  profound 
remorse.  She  would  often  think,  in  spite  of  herself,  of  that 
singular  being,  the  meeting  with  whom  had  revolutionized  her 
life.     But  she  carefully  refrained  from  writing  to  him. 

If  we  were  to  talk  the  terminology  of  the  seminary,  we 
would  be  able  to  recognise  a  miracle  in  the  sending  of  these 
five  hundred  francs  and  to  say  that  heaven  was  making  use  of 
Monsieur  de  Frilair  himself  in  order  to  give  this  gift  to  Julien. 
Twelve  years  previously  the  abbe  de  Frilair  had  arrived  in 
Besanc_on  with  an  extremely  exiguous  portmanteau,  which, 
according  to  the  story,  contained  all  his  fortune.  He  was 
now  one  of  the  richest  proprietors  of  the  department.  In  the 
course  of  his  prosperity,  he  had  bought  the  one  half  of  an 
estate,  while  the  other  half  had  been  inherited  by  Monsieur 
de  la  Mole.  Consequently  there  was  a  great  lawsuit  between 
these  two  personages. 

M.  le  Marquis  de  la  Mole  felt  that,  in  spite  of  his  brilliant 
life  at  Paris  and  the  offices  which  he  held  at  Court,  it  would 
be  dangerous  to  fight  at  Besancon  against  the  Grand  Vicar,  who 
was  reputed  to  make  and  unmake  prefects. 

Instead  of  soliciting  a  present  of  fifty  thousand  francs  which 
could  have  been  smuggled  into  the  budget  under  some  name 
or  other,  and  of  throwing  up  this  miserable  lawsuit  with  the 
abbe  Frilair  over  a  matter  of  fifty  thousand  francs,  the  marquis 
1  >st  his  temper.  He  thought  he  was  in  the  right,  absolutely 
in  the  right.  Moreover,  if  one  is  permitted  to  say  so,  who  is 
the  judge  who  has  not  got  a  son,  or  at  any  rate  a  cousin 
to  push  in  the  world  ? 

In  order  to  enlighten  the  blindest  minds  the  abbe  de  Frilair 
took  the  carriage  of  my  Lord  the  Bishop  eight  days  after  the 
first  decree  which  he  obtained,  and  went  himself  to  convey  the 
cross  of  the  Legion  of  Honour  to  his  advocate.  M.  de  la 
Mole,  a  little  dumbfoundered  at  the  demeanour  of  the  other 
side,  and  appreciating  also  that  his  own  advocates  were 
slackening  their  efforts,  asked  advice  of  the  abbe  Chelan,  who 
put  hiin  in  communication  with  M.  Pirard. 


THE  FIRST  PROMOTION  209 

At  the  period  of  our  story  the  relations  between  these  two 
men  had  lasted  for  several  years.  The  abbe  Pirard  imported 
into  this  affair  his  characteristic  passion.  Being  in  constant 
touch  with  the  Marquis's  advocates,  he  studied  his  case,  and 
finding  it  just,  he  became  quite  openly  the  solicitor  of  M.  de  la 
Mole  against  the  all-powerful  Grand  Vicar.  The  latter  felt 
outraged  by  such  insolence,  and  on  the  part  of  a  little  Jansenist 
into  the  bargain. 

"See  what  this  Court  nobility  who  pretend  to  be  so 
powerful  really  are,"  would  say  the  abbe  de  Frilair  to  his 
intimates.  M.  de  la  Mole  has  not  even  sent  a  miserable  cross 
to  his  agent  at  Besancon,  and  will  let  him  be  tamely  turned 
out.  None  the  less,  so  they  write  me,  this  noble  peer  never  lets 
a  week  go  by  without  going  to  show  off  his  blue  ribbon  in 
the  drawing-room  of  the  Keeper  of  Seal,  whoever  it  may  be. 

In  spite  of  all  the  energy  of  the  abbe  Pirard,  and  although 
M.  de  la  Mle  was  always  on  the  best  of  terms  with  the 
minister  of  justice,  and  above  all  with  his  officials,  the  best 
that  he  could  achieve  after  six  careful  years  was  not  to  lose 
his  lawsuit  right  out.  Being  as  he  was  in  ceaseless  correspond- 
ence with  the  abbe  Pirard  in  connection  with  an  affair  in 
which  they  were  both  passionately  interested,  the  Marquis 
came  to  appreciate  the  abbe's  particular  kind  of  intellect. 
Little  by  little,  and  in  spite  of  the  immense  distance  in  their 
social  positions,  their  correspondence  assumed  the  tone  of 
friendship.  The  abbe  Pirard  told  the  Marquis  that  they 
wanted  to  heap  insults  upon  him  till  he  should  be  forced  to 
hand  in  his  resignation.  In  his  anger  against  what,  in  his 
opinion,  was  the  infamous  stratagem  employed  against  Julien, 
he  narrated  his  history  to  the  Marquis. 

Although  extremely  rich,  this  great  lord  was  by  no  means 
miserly.  He  had  never  been  able  to  prevail  on  the  abbe 
Pirard  to  accept  even  the  reimbursement  of  the  postal  expenses 
occasioned  by  the  lawsuit.  He  seized  the  opportunity  of 
sending  five  hundred  francs  to  his  favourite  pupil.  M.  de  la 
Mole  himself  took  the  trouble  of  writing  the  covering  letter. 
This  gave  the  abbe  food  for  thought.  One  day  the  latter 
received  a  little  note  which  requested  him  to  go  immediately 
on  an  urgent  matter  to  an  inn  on  the  outskirts  of  Besancon. 
He  found  there  the  steward  of  M.  de  la  Mle. 

"  M.  le  Marquis  has  instructed  me  to  bring  you  his  carriage," 

14 


210       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

said  the  man  to  him.  "  He  hopes  that  after  you  have  read 
this  letter  you  will  find  it  convenient  to  leave  for  Paris  in  four 
or  five  days.  I  will  employ  the  time  in  the  meanwhile  in 
asking  you  to  be  good  enough  to  show  me  the  estates  of  M. 
le  Marquis  in  the  Franche-Comte,  so  that  I  can  go  over  them." 
The  letter  was  short : — 

"  Rid  yourself,  my  good  sir,  of  all  the  chicanery  of  the  provinces 
and  come  and  breathe  the  peaceful  atmosphere  of  Paris.  I  send 
you  my  carriage  which  has  orders  to  await  your  decision  for  four 
days.  I  will  await  you  myself  at  Paris  until  Tuesday.  You  only 
require  to  say  so,  monsieur,  to  accept  in  your  own  name  one  of  the 
best  livings  in  the  environs  of  Paris.  The  richest  of  your  future 
parishioners  has  never  seen  you,  but  is  more  devoted  than  you  can 
possibly  think  :  he  is  the  Marquis  de  la  Mole." 

Without  having  suspected  it,  the  stern  abbe  Pirard  loved 
this  seminary,  peopled  as  it  was  by  his  enemies,  but  to  which 
for  the  past  fifteen  years  he  had  devoted  all  his  thoughts.  M. 
de  la  Mole's  letter  had  the  effect  on  him  of  the  visit  of  the 
surgeon  come  to  perform  a  difficult  but  necessary  operation. 
His  dismissal  was  certain.  He  made  an  appointment  with 
the  steward  for  three  days  later.  For  forty-eight  hours  he  was 
in  a  fever  of  uncertainty.  Finally  he  wrote  to  the  M.  de  la 
Mole,  and  composed  for  my  Lord  the  Bishop  a  letter,  a 
masterpiece  of  ecclesiastical  style,  although  it  was  a  little  long ; 
it  would  have  been  difficult  to  have  found  more  unimpeachable 
phrases,  and  ones  breathing  a  more  sincere  respect.  And 
nevertheless,  this  letter,  intended  as  it  was  to  get  M.  de  Frilair 
into  trouble  with  his  patron,  gave  utterance  to  all  the  serious 
matters  of  complaint,  and  even  descended  to  the  little  squalid 
intrigues  which,  having  been  endured  with  resignation  for  six 
years,  were  forcing  the  abbe  Pirard  to  leave  the  diocese. 

They  stole  his  firewood,  they  poisoned  his  dog,  etc.,  etc. 

Having  finished  this  letter  he  had  Julien  called.  Like  all 
the  other  seminarists,  he  was  sleeping  at  eight  o'clock  in  the 
evening. 

"  You  know  where  the  Bishop's  Palace  is,"  he  said  to  him 
in  good  classical  Latin.  "  Take  this  letter  to  my  Lord.  I 
will  not  hide  from  you  that  I  am  sending  you  into  the  midst 
of  the  wolves.  Be  all  ears  and  eyes.  Let  there  be  no  lies  in 
your  answers,  but  realise  that  the  man  questioning  you  will 


THE  FIRST  PROMOTION  211 

possibly  experience  a  real  joy  in  being  able  to  hurt  you.  I  am 
very  pleased,  my  child,  at  being  able  to  give  you  this  experience 
before  I  leave  you,  for  I  do  not  hide  from  you  that  the  letter 
which  you  are  bearing  is  my  resignation." 

Julien  stood  motionless.  He  loved  the  abbe  Pirard.  It 
was  in  vain  that  prudence  said  to  him, 

"After  this  honest  man's  departure  the  Sacre  Coeur  party 
will  disgrace  me  and  perhaps  expel  me." 

He  could  not  think  of  himself.  He  was  embarrassed  by  a 
phrase  which  he  was  trying  to  turn  in  a  polite  way,  but  as  a 
matter  of  fact  he  found  himself  without  the  brains  to  do  so. 

"  Well,  my  friend,  are  you  not  going  ?  " 

"  Is  it  because  they  say,  monsieur,"  answered  Julian 
timidly,  "  that  you  have  put  nothing  on  one  side  during  your 
long  administration.     I  have  six  hundred  francs." 

His  tears  prevented  him  from  continuing. 

"  That  also  will  be  noticed"  said  the  ex-director  of  the 
seminary  coldly.     "  Go  to  the  Palace.     It  is  getting  late." 

Chance  would  so  have  it  that  on  that  evening,  the  abbe  de 
Frilair  was  on  duty  in  the  salon  of  the  Palace.  My  lord  was 
dining  with  the  prefect,  so  it  was  to  M.  de  Frilair  himself  that 
Julien,  though  he  did  not  know  it,  handed  the  letter. 

Julien  was  astonished  to  see  this  abbe  boldly  open  the  letter 
which  was  addressed  to  the  Bishop.  The  face  of  the  Grand 
Vicar  soon  expressed  surprise,  tinged  with  a  lively  pleasure, 
and  became  twice  as  grave  as  before.  Julien,  struck  with  his 
good  appearance,  found  time  to  scrutinise  him  while  he  was 
reading.  This  face  would  have  possessed  more  dignity  had  it 
not  been  for  the  extreme  sublety  which  appeared  in  some 
features,  and  would  have  gone  to  the  fact  of  actually  denoting 
falseness  if  the  possessor  of  this  fine  countenance  had  ceased 
to  school  it  for  a  single  minute.  The  very  prominent  nose 
formed  a  perfectly  straight  line  and  unfortunately  gave  to  an 
otherwise  distinguished  profile,  a  curious  resemblance  to  the 
physiognomy  of  a  fox.  Otherwise  this  abbe,  who  appeared  so 
engrossed  with  Monsieur  Pirard's  resignation,  was  dressed  with 
an  elegance  which  Julien  had  never  seen  before  in  any  priest 
and  which  pleased  him  exceedingly. 

It  was  only  later  that  Julien  knew  in  what  the  special  talent 
of  the  abbe  de  Frilair  really  consisted.  He  knew  how  to 
amuse  his  bishop,  an  amiable  old  man  made  for  Paris  life,  and 


2i2       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

who  looked  upon  Besancon  as  exile.  This  Bishop  had  very 
bad  sight,  and  was  passionately  fond  of  fish.  The  abbe  de 
Frilair  used  to  take  the  bones  out  of  the  fish  which  was  served 
to  my  Lord.  Julien  looked  silently  at  the  abbe  who  was  re- 
reading the  resignation  when  the  door  suddenly  opened  with 
a  noise.  A  richly  dressed  lackey  passed  in  rapidly.  Julien 
had  only  time  to  turn  round  towards  the  door.  He  perceived 
a  little  old  man  wearing  a  pectoral  cross.  He  prostrated  him- 
self. The  Bishop  addressed  a  benevolent  smile  to  him  and 
passed  on.  The  handsome  abbe  followed  him  and  Julien  was 
left  alone  in  the  salon,  and  was  able  to  admire  at  his  leisure 
its  pious  magnificence. 

The  Bishop  of  Besancon,  a  man  whose  spirit  had  been  tried 
but  not  broken  by  the  long  miseries  of  the  emigration,  was 
more  than  seventy-five  years  old  and  concerned  himself  in- 
finitely little  with  what  might  happen  in  ten  years'  time. 

"Who  is  that  clever-looking  seminarist  I  think  I  saw  as  I 
passed  ? "  said  the  Bishop.  "  Oughtn't  they  to  be  in  bed 
according  to  my  regulations." 

"That  one  is  very  wide-awake  I  assure  you,  my  Lord,  and 
he  brings  great  news.  It  is  the  resignation  of  the  only 
Jansenist  residing  in  your  diocese,  that  terrible  abbe  Pirard 
realises  at  last  that  we  mean  business." 

11  Well,"  said  the  Bishop  with  a  laugh.  "  I  challenge  you 
to  replace  him  with  any  man  of  equal  worth,  and  to  show  you 
how  much  I  prize  that  man,  I  will  invite  him  to  dinner  for 
to-morrow." 

The  Grand  Vicar  tried  to  slide  in  a  few  words  concerning 
the  choice  of  a  successor.  The  prelate,  who  was  little  disposed 
to  talk  business,  said  to  him. 

"  Before  we  install  the  other,  let  us  get  to  know  a  little  of 
the  circumstances  under  which  the  present  one  is  going. 
Fetch  me  this  seminarist.  The  truth  is  in  the  mouth  of 
children." 

Julien  was  summoned.  "  I  shall  find  myself  between  two 
inquisitors,"  he  thought.  He  had  never  felt  more  courageous. 
At  the  moment  when  he  entered,  two  valets,  better  dressed 
than  M.  Valenod  himself,  were  undressing  my  lord.  That 
prelate  thought  he  ought  to  question  Julien  on  his  studies 
before  questioning  him  about  M.  Pirard.  He  talked  a 
little  theology,  and  was  astonished.     He  soon  came  to  the 


THE  FIRST  PROMOTION  213 

humanities,  to  Virgil,  to  Horace,  to  Cicero.  "  It  was  those 
names,"  thought  Julien,  that  earned  me  my  number  198.  I 
have  nothing  to  lose.  Let  us  try  and  shine.  He  succeeded. 
The  prelate,  who  was  an  excellent  humanist  himself,  was 
delighted. 

At  the  prefect's  dinner,  a  young  girl  who  was  justly 
celebrated,  had  recited  the  poem  of  the  Madeleine.  He  was 
in  the  mood  to  talk  literature,  and  very  quickly  forgot  the 
abbe  Pirard  and  his  affairs  to  discuss  with  the  seminarist 
whether  Horace  was  rich  or  poor.  The  prelate  quoted  several 
odes,  but  sometimes  his  memory  was  sluggish,  and  then 
Julien  would  recite  with  modesty  the  whole  ode  :  the  fact 
which  struck  the  bishop  was  that  Julien  never  deviated  from 
the  conversational  tone.  He  spoke  his  twenty  or  thirty  Latin 
verses  as  though  he  had  been  speaking  of  what  was  taking 
place  in  his  own  seminary.  They  talked  for  a  long  time  of 
Virgil,  or  Cicero,  and  the  prelate  could  not  help  compliment- 
ing the  young  seminarist.    You  could  not  have  studied  better." 

"  My  Lord,"  said  Julien,  "  your  seminary  can  offer  you 
197  much  less  unworthy  of  your  high  esteem." 

"How  is  that?"  said  the  Prelate  astonished  by  the 
number." 

"  I  can  support  by  official  proof  just  what  I  have  had  the 
honour  of  saying  before  my  lord.  I  obtained  the  number  198 
at  the  seminary's  annual  examination  by  giving  accurate 
answers  to  the  very  questions  which  are  earning  me  at  the 
present  moment  my  lord's  approbation. 

"Ah,  it  is  the  Benjamin  of  the  abbe  Pirard,"  said  the 
Bishop  with  a  laugh,  as  he  looked  at  M.  de  Frilair.  "  We 
should  have  been  prepared  for  this.  But  it  is  fair  fighting. 
Did  you  not  have  to  be  woken  up,  my  friend,"  he  said, 
addressing  himself  to  Julien.     "  To  be  sent  here  ?  " 

"  Yes,  my  Lord.  I  have  only  been  out  of  the  seminary  alone 
once  in  my  life  to  go  and  help  M.  the  abbe  Chas-Bernard 
decorate  the  cathedral  on  Corpus  Christi  day. 

"  Optime,"  said  the  Bishop.  "  So,  it  is  you  who  showed 
proof  of  so  much  courage  by  placing  the  bouquets  of  feathers 
on  the  baldachin.  They  make  me  shudder.  They  make  me 
fear  that  they  will  cost  some  man  his  life.  You  will  go  far,  my 
friend,  but  I  do  not  wish  to  cut  short  your  brilliant  career  by 
making  you  die  of  hunger." 


214       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

And  by  the  order  of  the  Bishop,  biscuits  and  wine  were 
brought  in,  to  which  Julien  did  honour,  and  the  abbe  de 
Frilair,  who  knew  that  his  Bishop  liked  to  see  people  eat  gaily 
and  with  a  good  appetite,  even  greater  honour. 

The  prelate,  more  and  more  satisfied  with  the  end  of  his 
evening,  talked  for  a  moment  of  ecclesiastical  history.  He 
saw  that  Julien  did  not  understand.  The  prelate  passed  on 
to  the  moral  condition  of  the  Roman  Empire  under  the  system 
of  the  Emperor  Constantine.  The  end  of  paganism  had  been 
accompanied  by  that  state  of  anxiety  and  of  doubt  which 
afflicts  sad  and  jaded  spirits  in  the  nineteenth  century.  My 
Lord  noticed  Julien's  ignorance  of  almost  the  very  name  of 
Tacitus.  To  the  astonishment  of  the  prelate,  Julien  answered 
frankly  that  that  author  was  not  to  be  found  in  the  seminary 
library. 

"  I  am  truly  very  glad,"  said  the  Bishop  gaily,  "You 
relieve  me  of  an  embarrassment.  I  have  been  trying  for  the 
last  five  minutes  to  find  a  way  of  thanking  you  for  the  charm- 
ing evening  which  you  have  given  me  in  a  way  that  I  could 
certainly  never  have  expected.  I  did  not  anticipate  finding  a 
teacher  in  a  pupil  in  my  seminary.  Although  the  gift  is  not 
unduly  canonical,  I  want  to  give  you  a  Tacitus.  The  prelate 
had  eight  volumes  in  a  superior  binding  fetched  for  him,  and 
insisted  on  writing  himself  on  the  title  page  of  the  first  volume 
a  Latin  compliment  to  Julien  Sorel.  The  Bishop  plumed 
himself  on  his  fine  Latinity.  He  finished  by  saying  to  him  in 
a  serious  tone,  which  completely  clashed  with  the  rest  of  the 
conversation. 

"  Young  man,  if  you  are  good,  you  will  have  one  day  the 
best  living  in  my  diocese,  and  one  not  a  hundred  leagues  from 
my  episcopal  palace,  but  you  must  be  good." 

Laden  with  his  volumes,  Julien  left  the  palace  in  as  tate  of 
great  astonishment  as  midnight  was  striking. 

My  Lord  had  not  said  a  word  to  him  about  the  abbe 
Pirard.  Julien  was  particularly  astonished  by  the  Bishop's 
extreme  politeness.  He  had  had  no  conception  of  such  an 
urbanity  in  form  combined  with  so  natural  an  air  of  dignity. 
Julien  was  especially  struck  by  the  contrast  on  seeing  again 
the  gloomy  abbe  Pirard,  who  was  impatiently  awaiting  him. 

"  Quid  tibi  dixerunt  (What  have  they  said  to  you)  ? "  he 
cried  out  to  him  in  a  loud  voice  as  soon  as  he  saw  him  in  the 


THE  FIRST  PROMOTION  315 

distance.  "  Speak  French,  and  repeat  my  Lord's  own  words 
without  either  adding  or  subtracting  anything,"  said  the  ex- 
Director  of  the  seminary  in  his  harsh  tone,  and  with  his 
particularly  inelegant  manners,  as  Julien  got  slightly  confused 
in  translating  into  Latin  the  speeches  of  the  Bishop. 

"  What  a  strange  present  on  the  part  of  the  Bishop  to  a 
young  seminarist,"  he  ventured  to  say  as  he  turned  over  the 
leaves  of  the  superb  Tacitus,  whose  gilt  edges  seemed  to 
horrify  him. 

Two  o'clock  was  already  striking  when  he  allowed  his 
favourite  pupil  to  retire  to  his  room  after  an  extremely  detailed 
account. 

"  Leave  me  the  first  volume  of  your  Tacitus,"  he  said  to 
him.  "  Where  is  my  Lord  Bishop's  compliment?  This  Latin 
line  will  serve  as  your  lightning-conductor  in  this  house  after 
my  departure." 

Erit  tibi,  fill  mi,  successor  meus  tanquam  leo  querens  quern 
devoret.  (For  my  successor  will  be  to  you,  my  son,  like  a 
ravening  lion  seeking  someone  to  devour). 

The  following  morning  Julien-  noticed  a  certain  strangeness 
in  the  manner  in  which  his  comrades  spoke  to  him.  It  only 
made  him  more  reserved.  "  This,"  he  thought,  "  is  the  result  of 
M.  Pirard's  resignation.  It  is  known  over  the  whole  house, 
and  I  pass  for  his  favourite.  There  ought  logically  to  be  an 
insult  in  their  demeanour."  But  he  could  not  detect  it.  On 
the  contrary,  there  was  an  absence  of  hate  in  the  eyes  of  all 
those  he  met  along  the  corridors.  "  What  is  the  meaning  of 
this?     It  is  doubtless  a  trap.     Let  us  play  a  wary  game." 

Finally  the  little  seminarist  said  to  him  with  a  laugh, 

"  Cornelii  Taciti  opera  omnia  (complete  works  of  Taciti)." 

On  hearing  these  words,  they  all  congratulated  Julien 
enviously,  not  only  on  the  magnificent  present  which  he  had 
received  from  my  lord,  but  also  on  the  two  hours'  conversation 
with  which  he  had  been  honoured.  They  knew  even  its 
minutest  details.  From  that  moment  envy  ceased  completely. 
They  courted  him  basely.  The  abbe  Castanede,  who  had 
manifested  towards  him  the  most  extreme  insolence  the  very 
day  before,  came  and  took  his  arm  and  invited  him  to  breakfast. 

By  some  fatality  in  Julien's  character,  while  the  insolence  of 
hese  coarse  creatures  had  occasioned  him  great  pain,  their 
baseness  afforded  him  disgust,  but  no  pleasure. 


2i6       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Towards  mid-day  the  abbe  Pirard  took  leave  of  his  pupils, 
but  not  before  addressing  to  them  a  severe  admonition. 

"  Do  you  wish  for  the  honours  of  the  world,"  he  said  to 
them.  "  For  all  the  social  advantages,  for  the  pleasure  of 
commanding  pleasures,  of  setting  the  laws  at  defiance,  and 
the  pleasure  of  being  insolent  with  impunity  to  all  ?  Or  do 
you  wish  for  your  eternal  salvation  ?  The  most  backward  of 
you  have  only  got  to  open  your  eyes  to  distinguish  the  true 
ways." 

He  had  scarcely  left  before  the  devotees  of  the  SacrS  Coeur 
de  Jesus  went  into  the  chapel  to  intone  a  Te  Deum.  Nobody 
in  the  seminary  took  the  ex-director's  admonition  seriously. 

"  He  shows  a  great  deal  of  temper  because  he  is  losing  his 
job,"  was  what  was  said  in  every  quarter. 

Not  a  single  seminarist  was  simple  enough  to  believe  in  the 
voluntary  resignation  of  a  position  which  put  him  into  such 
close  touch  with  the  big  contractors. 

The  abbe  Pirard  went  and  established  himself  in  the  finest 
inn  at  Besancon,  and  making  an  excuse  of  business  which  he 
had  not  got,  insisted  on  passing  a  couple  of  days  there.  The 
Bishop  had  invited  him  to  dinner,  and  in  order  to  chaff  his 
Grand  Vicar  de  Frilair,  endeavoured  to  make  him  shine. 
They  were  at  dessert  when  the  extraordinary  intelligence 
arrived  from  Paris  that  the  abbe  Pirard  had  been  appointed  to 

the  magnificent  living  of  N. four  leagues  from  Paris. 

The  good  prelate  congratulated  him  upon  it.  He  saw  in  the 
whole  affair  a  piece  of  good  play  which  put  him  in  a  good 
temper  and  gave  him  the  highest  opinion  of  the  abbe's  talents. 
He  gave  him  a  magnificent  Latin  certificate,  and  enjoined 
silence  on  the  abbe  de  Frilair,  who  was  venturing  to  re- 
monstrate. 

The  same  evening,  my  Lord  conveyed  his  admiration  to 
the  Marquise  de  Rubempre.  This  was  great  news  for  fine 
Besancon  society.  They  abandoned  themselves  to  all  kinds 
of  conjectures  over  this  extraordinary  favour.  They  already 
saw  the  abbe  Pirard  a  Bishop.  The  more  subtle  brains 
thought  M.  de  la  Mole  was  a  minister,  and  indulged  on  this 
day  in  smiles  at  the  imperious  airs  that  M.  the  abbe  de  Frilair 
adopted  in  society. 

The  following  day  the  abbe  Pirard  was  almost  mobbed  in 
the  streets,  and  the  tradesmen  came  to  their  shop  doors  when 


THE  FIRST  PROMOTION  217 

he  went  to  solicit  an  interview  with  the  judges  who  had  had  to 
try  the  Marquis's  lawsuit.  For  the  first  time  in  his  life  he  was 
politely  received  by  them.  The  stern  Jansenist,  indignant  as  he 
was  with  all  that  he  saw,  worked  long  with  the  advocates  whom 
he  had  chosen  for  the  Marquis  de  la  Mole,  and  left  for  Paris. 
He  was  weak  enough  to  tell  two  or  three  college  friends  who 
accompanied  him  to  the  carriage  whose  armorial  bearings  they 
admired,  that  after  having  administered  the  Seminary  for 
fifteen  years  he  was  leaving  Besancon  with  five  hundred  and 
twenty  francs  of  savings.  His  friends  kissed  him  with  tears 
in  their  eyes,  and  said  to  each  other, 

"  The  good  abbe  could  have  spared  himself  that  lie.  It  is 
really  too  ridiculous." 

The  vulgar,  blinded  as  they  are  by  the  love  of  money,  were 
constitutionally  incapable  of  understanding  that  it  was  in  his 
own  sincerity  that  the  abbe  Pirard  had  found  the  necessary 
strength  to  fight  for  six  years  against  Marie  Alacoque,  the 
Sacri  Coeur  de  Jems,  the  Jesuits  and  his  Bishop. 


CHAPTER  XXX 

AN    AMBITIOUS    MAN 

There  is  only  one  nobility,  the  title  of  duke  ;  a  marquis  is 
ridiculous  ;  the  word  duke  makes  one  turn  round. 

Edinburgh  Review. 

The  Marquis  de  la  Mole  received  the  abbe  Pirard  without  any 
of  those  aristocratic  mannerisms  whose  very  politeness  is  at 
the  same  time  so  impertinent  to  one  who  understands  them. 
It  would  have  been  waste  of  time,  and  the  Marquis  was 
sufficiently  expeditious  in  big  affairs  to  have  no  time  to  lose. 

He  had  been  intriguing  for  six  months  to  get  both  the  king 
and  people  to  accept  a  minister  who,  as  a  matter  of  gratitude, 
was  to  make  him  a  Duke.  The  Marquis  had  been  asking  his 
Besancon  advocate  for  years  on  end  for  a  clear  and  precise 
summary  of  his  Franche-Comte  lawsuits.  How  could  the 
celebrated  advocate  explain  to  him  what  he  did  not  understand 
himself?  The  little  square  of  paper  which  the  abbe  handed 
him  explained  the  whole  matter. 

"  My  dear  abbe,"  said  the  Marquis  to  him,  having  got 
through  in  less  than  five  minutes  all  polite  formulae  of  personal 
questions.  "  My  dear  abbe,  in  the  midst  of  my  pretended 
prosperity  I  lack  the  time  to  occupy  myself  seriously  with  two 
little  matters  which  are  rather  important,  my  family  and  my 
affairs.  I  manage  the  fortune  of  my  house  on  a  large  scale. 
I  can  carry  it  far.  I  manage  my  pleasures,  and  that  is  the 
first  consideration  in  my  eyes,"  he  added,  as  he  saw  a  look  of 
astonishment  in  the  abbe  Pirard's  eyes.  Although  a  man  of 
common  sense,  the  abbe  was  surprised  to  hear  a  man  talk  so 
frankly  about  his  pleasures. 

"  Work  doubtless  exists  in  Paris,"  continued  the  great  lord, 
"  but  it  is  perched  on  the  fifth  story,  and  as  soon  as  I  take 
anyone  up,  he  takes  an  apartment  on  the  second  floor,  and 


AN  AMBITIOUS  MAN  219 

his  wife  starts  a  day  at  home ;  the  result  is  no  more  work  and 
no  more  efforts  except  either  to  be,  or  appear  to  be,  a 
society  man.  That  is  the  only  thing  they  bother  about,  as 
soon  as  they  have  got  their  bread  and  butter. 

"  For  my  lawsuits,  yes,  for  every  single  one  of  them,  I  have, 
to  put  it  plainly,  advocates  who  quarrel  to  death.  One 
died  of  consumption  the  day  before  yesterday.  Taking  my 
business  all  round,  would  you  believe,  monsieur,  that  for  three 
years  I  have  given  up  all  hope  of  finding  a  man  who  deigns, 
during  the  time  he  is  acting  as  my  clerk,  to  give  a  little 
serious  thought  to  what  he  is  doing.  Besides,  all  this  is  only 
a  preliminary. 

"  I  respect  you  and  would  venture  to  add  that,  although  I 
only  see  you  for  the  first  time;  to-day,  I  like  you.  Will  you  be 
my  secretary  at  a  salary  of  eight  hundred  francs  or  even 
double.  I  shall  still  be  the  gainer  by  it,  I  swear  to  you,  and  I 
will  manage  to  reserve  that  fine  living  for  you  for  the  day 
when  we  shall  no  longer  be  able  to  agree."  The  abbe  refused, 
but  the  genuine  embarrassment  in  which  he  saw  the  Marquis 
suggested  an  idea  to  him  towards  the  end  of  the  conversation. 

"  I  have  left  in  the  depths  of  my  seminary  a  poor  young 
man  who,  if  I  mistake  not,  will  be  harshly  persecuted.  If  he 
were  only  a  simple  monk  he  would  be  already  in  pace.  So 
far  this  young  man  only  knows  Latin  and  the  Holy  Scriptures, 
but  it  is  not  impossible  that  he  will  one  day  exhibit  great 
talent,  either  for  preaching  or  the  guiding  of  souls.  I  do  not 
know  what  he  will  do,  but  he  has  the  sacred  fire.  He  may  go 
far.  I  thought  of  giving  him  to  our  Bishop,  if  we  had  ever  had 
one  who  was  a  little  of  your  way  of  considering  men  and 
things." 

"  What  is  your  young  man's  extraction  ?  "  said  the  Marquis. 

"  He  is  said  to  be  the  son  of  a  carpenter  in  our  mountains. 
I  rath  er  believe  he  is  the  natural  son  of  some  rich  man.  I 
have  seen  him  receive  an  anonymous  or  pseudonymous  letter 
with    bill  for  five  hundred  francs." 

"  Oh,  it  is  Julien  Sorel,"  said  the  Marquis. 

"  How  do  you  know  his  name  ? "  said  the  abbe,  in 
astonishment,  reddening  at  his  question. 

"That's  what  I'm  not  going  to  tell  you,"  answered  the 
Marquis. 

"Well,"    replied  the   abbe,   "you   might  try  making   him 


220       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

your  secretary.     He  has  energy.     He  has  a  logical  mind.     In 
a  word,  it's  worth  trying." 

"Why  not?"  said  the  Marquis.  "But  would  he  be  the 
kind  of  man  to  allow  his  palm  to  be  greased  by  the  Prefect  of 
Police  or  any  one  else  and  then  spy  on  me  ?  That  is  only  my 
objection." 

After  hearing  the  favourable  assurances  of  the  abbe  Pirard, 
the  Marquis  took  a  thousand  franc  note. 

"  Send  this  journey  money  to  Julien  Sorel.  Let  him  come 
to  me." 

"  One  sees  at  once,"  said  the  abbe  Pirard,  "  that  you  live 
in  Paris.  You  do  not  know  the  tyranny  which  weighs  us 
poor  provincials  down,  and  particularly  those  priests  who  are 
not  friendly  to  the  Jesuits.  They  will  refuse  to  let  Julien 
Sorel  leave.  They  will  manage  to  cloak  themselves  in  the 
most  clever  excuses.  They  will  answer  me  that  he  is  ill,  that 
his  letters  were  lost  in  the  post,  etc.,  etc." 

"  I  will  get  a  letter  from  the  minister  to  the  Bishop,  one  of 
these  days,"  answered  the  Marquis. 

"  I  was  forgetting  to  warn  you  of  one  thing,"  said  the  abbe. 
"  This  young  man,  though  of  low  birth,  has  a  high  spirit.  He 
will  be  of  no  use  if  you  madden  his  pride.  You  will  make 
him  stupid." 

"  That  pleases  me,"  said  the  Marquis.  "  I  will  make  him 
my  son's  comrade.     Will  that  be  enough  for  you  ?  " 

Some  time  afterwards,  Julien  received  a  letter  in  an  unknown 
writing,  and  bearing  the  Chlon  postmark.  He  found  in  it 
a  draft  on  a  Besancon  merchant,  and  instructions  to  present 
himself  at  Paris  without  delay.  The  letter  was  signed  in  a 
fictitious  name,  but  Julien  had  felt  a  thrill  in  opening  it.  A 
leaf  of  a  tree  had  fallen  down  at  his  feet.  It  was  the  agreed 
signal  between  himself  and  the  abbe  Pirard. 

Within  an  hour's  time,  Julien  was  summoned  to  the  Bishop's 
Palace,  where  he  found  himself  welcomed  with  a  quite  paternal 
benevolence.  My  lord  quoted  Horace  and  at  the  same  time 
complimented  him  very  adroitly  on  the  exalted  destiny  which 
awaited  him  in  Paris  in  such  a  way  as  to  elicit  an  explanation 
by  way  of  thanks.  Julien  was  unable  to  say  anything,  simply 
because  he  did  not  know  anything,  and  my  Lord  showed  him 
much  consideration.  One  of  the  little  priests  in  the  bishopric 
wrote  to  the  mayor,  who  hastened  to  bring  in  person  a  signed 


■     AN  AMBITIOUS  MAN  221 

passport,  where  the  name  of  the  traveller  had  been  left  in 
blank. 

Before  midnight  of  the  same  evening,  Julien  was  at  Fouque's. 
His  friend's  shrewd  mind  was  more  astonished  than  pleased 
with  the  future  which  seemed  to  await  his  friend. 

"  You  will  finish  up,"  said  that  Liberal  voter,  "  with  a  place 
in  the  Government,  which  will  compel  you  to  take  some  step 
which  will  be  calumniated.  It  will  only  be  by  your  own 
disgrace  that  I  shall  have  news  of  you.  Remember  that, 
even  from  the  financial  standpoint,  it  is  better  to  earn  a 
hundred  louis  in  a  good  timber  business,  of  which  one  is  his 
own  master,  than  to  receive  four  thousand  francs  from  a 
Government,  even  though  it  were  that  of  King  Solomon." 

Julien  saw  nothing  in  this  except  the  pettiness  of  spirit 
of  a  country  bourgeois.  At  last  he  was  going  to  make  an 
appearance  in  the  theatre  of  great  events.  Everything  was 
over-shadowed  in  his  eyes  by  the  happiness  of  going  to  Paris, 
which  he  imagined  to  be  populated  by  people  of  intellect,  full 
of  intrigues  and  full  of  hypocrisy,  but  as  polite  as  the  Bishop 
of  Besancon  and  the  Bishop  of  Agde.  He  represented  to 
his  friend  that  he  was  deprived  of  any  free  choice  in  the  matter 
by  the  abbe  Pirard's  letter. 

The  following  day  he  arrived  at  Verrieres  about  noon.  He 
felt  the  happiest  of  men  for  he  counted  on  seeing  Madame  de 
Renal  again.  He  went  first  to  his  protector  the  good  abbe 
Chelan.     He  met  with  a  severe  welcome. 

"  Do  you  think  you  are  under  any  obligation  to  me  ?  "  said 
M.  Chelan  to  him,  without  answering  his  greeting.  "  You 
will  take  breakfast  with  me.  During  that  time  I  will  have  a 
horse  hired  for  you  and  you  will  leave  Verrieres  without 
seeing  anyone." 

"  Hearing  is  obeying,"  answered  Julien  with  a  demeanour 
smacking  of  the  seminary,  and  the  only  questions  now 
discussed  were  theology  and  classical  Latin. 

He  mounted  his  horse,  rode  a  league,  and  then  perceiving 
a  wood  and  not  seeing  any  one  who  could  notice  him  enter, 
he  plunged  into  it.  At  sunset,  he  sent  away  the  horse. 
Later,  he  entered  the  cottage  of  a  peasant,  who  consented  to 
sell  him  a  ladder  and  to  follow  him  with  it  to  the  little  wood 
which  commands  the  Cours  de  la  Fidelite  at  Verrieres. 

"  I  have  been  following  a  poor  mutineer  of  a  conscript  ,  .  . 


222       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

or  a  smuggler,"  said  the  peasant  as  he  took  leave  of  him,  "  but 
what  does  it  matter  ?  My  ladder  has  been  well  paid  for,  and 
I  myself  have  done  a  thing  or  two  in  that  line." 

The  night  was  very  black.  Towards  one  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  Julien,  laden  with  his  ladder,  entered  Verrieres. 
He  descended  as  soon  as  he  could  into  the  bed  of  the  stream, 
which  is  banked  within  two  walls,  and  traverses  M.  de  Renal's 
magnificent  gardens  at  a  depth  of  ten  feet.  Julien  easily 
climbed  up  the  ladder.  "  How  will  the  watch  dogs  welcome 
me,"  he  thought.  "  It  all  turns  on  that."  The  dogs  barked 
and  galloped  towards  him,  but  he  whistled  softly  and  they 
came  and  caressed  him.  Then  climbing  from  terrace  to 
terrace  he  easily  managed,  although  all  the  grills  were  shut, 
to  get  as  far  as  the  window  of  Madame  de  Renal's  bedroom 
which,  on  the  garden  side,  was  only  eight  or  six  feet  above 
the  ground.  There  was  a  little  heart  shaped  opening  in  the 
shutters  which  Julien  knew  well.  To  his  great  disappoint- 
ment, this  little  opening  was  not  illuminated  by  the  flare  of 
a  little  night-light  inside. 

"Good  God,"  he  said  to  himself.  "This  room  is  not 
occupied  by  Madame  de  Renal.  Where  can  she  be  sleeping  ? 
The  family  must  be  at  Verrieres  since  I  have  found  the  dogs 
here,  but  I  might  meet  M.  de  Renal  himself,  or  even  a 
stranger  in  this  room  without  a  light,  and  then  what  a 
scandal ! "  The  most  prudent  course  was  to  retreat,  but  this 
idea  horrified  Julien. 

"  If  it's  a  stranger,  I  will  run  away  for  all  I'm  worth,  and 
leave  my  ladder  behind  me,  but  if  it  is  she,  what  a  welcome 
awaits  me  !  I  can  well  imagine  that  she  has  fallen  into  a 
mood  of  penitence  and  the  most  exalted  piety,  but  after  all, 
she  still  has  some  remembrance  of  me,  since  she  has  written 
to  me."     This  bit  of  reasoning  decided  him. 

With  a  beating  heart,  but  resolved  none  the  less  to  see  her 
or  perish  in  the  attempt,  he  threw  some  little  pebbles  against 
the  shutter.  No  answer.  He  leaned  his  long  ladder  beside 
the  window,  and  himself  knocked  on  the  shutter,  at  first 
softly,  and  then  more  strongly.  "  However  dark  it  is,  they 
may  still  shoot  me,"  thought  Julien.  This  idea  made  the  mad 
adventure  simply  a  question  of  bravery. 

"This  room  is  not  being  slept  in  to-night,"  he  thought, 
"or  whatever  person  might  be  there  would  have  woken  up 


AN  AMBITIOUS  MAN  223 

by  now.  So  far  as  it  is  concerned,  therefore,  no  further 
precautions  are  needed.  I  must  only  try  not  to  be  heard  by 
the  persons  sleeping  in  the  other  rooms." 

He  descended,  placed  his  ladder  against  one  of  the  shutters, 
climbed  up  again,  and  placing  his  hand  through  the  heart- 
shaped  opening,  was  fortunate  enough  to  find  pretty  quickly 
the  wire  which  is  attached  to  the  hook  which  closed  the 
shutter.  He  pulled  this  wire.  It  was  with  an  ineffable  joy 
that  he  felt  that  the  shutter  was  no  longer  held  back,  and 
yielded  to  his  effort. 

I  must  open  it  bit  by  bit  and  let  her  recognise  my  voice. 
He  opened  the  shutter  enough  to  pass  his  head  through  it, 
while  he  repeated  in  a  low  voice,  "  It's  a  friend." 

He  pricked  up  his  ears  and  assured  himself  that  nothing 
disturbed  the  profound  silence  of  the  room,  but  there  could 
be  no  doubt  about  it,  there  was  no  light,  even  half-extinguished, 
on  the  mantelpiece.     It  was  a  very  bad  sign. 

"  Look  out  for  the  gun-shot,"  he  reflected  a  little,  then  he 
ventured  to  knock  against  rhe  window  with  his  finger.  No 
answer.  He  knocked  harder.  I  must  finish  it  one  way  or 
another,  even  if  I  have  to  break  the  window.  When  he  was 
knocking  very  hard,  he  thought  he  could  catch  a  glimpse 
through  the  darkness  of  something  like  a  white  shadow  that 
was  crossing  the  room.  At  last  there  was  no  doubt  about  it. 
He  saw  a  shadow  which  appeared  to  advance  with  extreme 
slowness.  Suddenly  he  saw  a  cheek  placed  against  the  pane 
to  which  his  eye  was  glued. 

He  shuddered  and  went  away  a  little,  but  the  night  was  so 
black  that  he  could  not,  even  at  this  distance,  distinguish  if  it 
were  Madame  de  Renal.  He  was  frightened  of  her  crying  out 
at  first  in  alarm.  He  heard  the  dogs  prowling  and  growling 
around  the  foot  of  the  ladder.  "  It  is  I,"  he  repeated  fairly 
loudly.     "  A  friend." 

No  answer.     The  white  phantom  had  disappeared. 

"  Deign  to  open  to  me.  I  must  speak  to  you.  I  am  too 
unhappy."  And  he  knocked  hard  enough  to  break  the 
pane. 

A  crisp  sound  followed.  The  casement  fastening  of  the 
window  yielded.  He  pushed  the  casement  and  leaped  lightly 
into  the  room. 

The  white  phantom  flitted  away  from  him.     He  took  hold 


224       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

of  its  arms.  It  was  a  woman.  All  his  ideas  of  courage 
vanished.  "  If  it  is  she,  what  is  she  going  to  say?"  What 
were  his  emotions  when  a  little  cry  gave  him  to  understand, 
that  it  was  Madame  de  Renal  ? 

He  clasped  her  in  his  arms.  She  trembled  and  scarcely 
had  the  strength  to  push  him  away. 

"  Unhappy  man.  What  are  you  doing  ?  "  Her  agonised 
voice  could  scarcely  articulate  the  words. 

Julien  thought  that  her  voice  rang  with  the  most  genuine 
indignation. 

"  I  have  come  to  see  you  after  a  cruel  separation  of  more 
than  fourteen  months." 

"  Go  away,  leave  me  at  once.  Oh,  M.  Chelan,  why  did  you 
prevent  me  writing  to  him  ?  I  could  then  have  foreseen  this 
horror."  She  pushed  him  away  with  a  truly  extraordinary 
strength.  "  Heaven  has  deigned  to  enlighten  me,"  she  repeated 
in  a  broken  voice.     "  Go  away  !     Flee  !  " 

"After  fourteen  months  of  unhappiness  I  shall  certainly 
not  leave  you  without  a  word.  I  want  to  know  all  you  have 
done.  Yes,  I  have  loved  you  enough  to  deserve  this  con- 
fidence. I  want  to  know  everything."  This  authoritative 
tone  dominated  Madame  de  Renal's  heart  in  spite  of  herself. 
Julien,  who  was  hugging  her  passionately  and  resisting  her 
efforts  to  get  loose,  left  off  clasping  her  in  his  arms.  This 
reassured  Madame  de  Renal  a  little. 

"  I  will  take  away  the  ladder,"  he  said,  "  to  prevent  it  com- 
promising us  in  case  some  servant  should  be  awakened  by  the 
noise,  and  go  on  a  round." 

"  Oh  leave  me,  leave  me  ! "  she  cried  with  an  admirable 
anger.  "  What  do  men  matter  to  me  !  It  is  God  who  sees 
the  awful  scene  you  are  now  making.  You  are  abusing 
meanly  the  sentiments  which  I  had  for  you  but  have  no 
longer.     Do  you  hear,  Monsieur  Julien  ? '' 

He  took  away  the  ladder  very  slowly  so  as  not  to  make  a 
noise. 

"  Is  your  husband  in  town,  dear,"  he  said  to  her  not  in 
order  to  defy  her  but  as  a  sheer  matter  of  habit. 

"  Don't  talk  to  me  like  that,  I  beg  you,  or  I  will  call  my 
husband.  I  feel  only  too  guilty  in  not  having  sent  you  away 
before.  I  pity  you,"  she  said  to  him,  trying  to  wound  his, 
as  she  well  knew,  irritable  pride 


AN  AMBITIOUS  MAN  225 

This  refusal  of  all  endearments,  this  abrupt  way  of  breaking 
so  tender  a  tie  which  he  thought  still  subsisted,  carried  the 
transports  of  Julien's  love  to  the  point  of  delirium. 

"  What !  is  it  possible  you  do  not  love  me  ?  "  he  said  to  her, 
with  one  of  those  accents  that  come  straight  from  the  heart 
and  impose  a  severe  strain  on  the  cold  equanimity  of  the 
listener. 

She  did  not  answer.     As  for  him,  he  wept  bitterly. 

In  fact  he  had  no  longer  the  strength  to  speak. 

"  So  I  am  completely  forgotten  by  the  one  being  who  ever 
loved  me,  what  is  the  good  of  living  on  henceforth  ? "  As 
soon  as  he  had  no  longer  to  fear  the  danger  of  meeting  a  man 
all  his  courage  had  left  him;  his  heart  now  contained  no 
emotion  except  that  of  love. 

He  wept  for  a  long  time  in  silence. 

He  took  her  hand ;  she  tried  to  take  it  away,  and  after  a 
few  almost  convulsive  moments,  surrendered  it  to  him.  It 
was  extremely  dark;  they  were  both  sitting  on  MaJame  de 
Renal's  bed. 

"  What  a  change  from  fourteen  months  ago,"  thought 
Julien,  and  his  tears  redoubled.  "So  absence  is  really 
bound  to  destroy  all  human  sentiments." 

"  Deign  to  tell  me  what  has  happened  to  you  ? "  Julien 
said  at  last. 

"  My  follies,"  answered  Madame  de  Renal  in  a  hard  voice 
whose  frigid  intonation  contained  in  it  a  certain  element  of 
reproach,  "  were  no  doubt  known  in  the  town  when  you  left, 
your  conduct  was  so  imprudent.  Some  time  afterwards  when 
I  was  in  despair  the  venerable  Chelan  came  to  see  me.  He 
tried  in  vain  for  a  long  time  to  obtain  a  confession.  One  day 
he  took  me  to  that  church  at  Dijon  where  I  made  my  first 

communion.    In  that  place  he  ventured  to  speak  himself " 

Madame  de  Renal  was  interrupted  by  her  tears.  "  What  a 
moment  of  shame.  I  confessed  everything.  The  good  man 
was  gracious  enough  not  to  overwhelm  me  with  the  weight  of 
his  indignation.  He  grieved  with  me.  During  that  time  I 
used  to  write  letters  to  you  every  day  which  I  never  ventured 
to  send.  I  hid  them  carefully  and  when  I  was  more  than 
usually  unhappy  I  shut  myself  up  in  my  room  and  read  over 
my  letters." 

"  At  last  M.  Chelan  induced  me  to  hand  them  over  to  him, 

»5 


226       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

some  of  them  written  a  little  more  discreetly  were  sent  to  you, 
you  never  answered." 

"  I  never  received  any  letters  from  you,  I  swear  !  " 

"  Great  heavens !  Who  can  have  intercepted  them  ? 
Imagine  my  grief  until  the  day  I  saw  you  in  the  cathedral. 
I  did  not  know  if  you  were  still  alive." 

"  God  granted  me  the  grace  of  understanding  how  much  I 
was  sinning  towards  Him,  towards  my  children,  towards  my 
husband,"  went  on  Madame  de  Renal.  "  He  never  loved  me 
in  the  way  that  I  then  thought  that  you  had  loved  me." 

Julien  rushed  into  her  arms,  as  a  matter  of  fact  without  any 
particular  purpose  and  feeling  quite  beside  himself.  But 
Madame  de  Renal  repelled  him  and  continued  fairly  firmly. 

"  My  venerable  friend,  M.  Chelan,  made  me  understand  that 
in  marrying  I  had  plighted  all  my  affections,  even  those  which  I 
did  not  then  know,  and  which  I  had  never  felt  before  a  certain 
fatal  attachment  .  .  .  after  the  great  sacrifice  of  the  letters 
that  were  so  dear  to  me,  my  life  has  flowed  on,  if  not  happily, 
at  any  rate  calmly.  Do  not  disturb  it.  Be  a  friend  to  me, 
my  best  friend."  Julien  covered  her  hand  with  kisses.  She 
perceived  he  was  still  crying.  "  Do  not  cry,  you  pain  me  so 
much.  Tell  me,  in  your  turn,  what  you  have  been  doing," 
Julien  was  unable  to  speak.  "  I  want  to  know  the  life  you  lead 
at  the  seminary,"  she  repeated.     "And  then  you  will  go." 

Without  thinking  about  what  he  was  saying  Julien  spoke  ol 
the  numberless  intrigues  and  jealousies  which  he  had  first  en 
countered,  and  then  of  the  great  serenity  of  his  life  after  h« 
had  been  made  a  tutor. 

"  It  was  then,"  he  added,  "  that  after  a  long  silence  which  was 
no  doubt  intended  to  make  me  realise  what  I  see  only  too  clearly 
to-day,  that  you  no  longer  loved  me  and  that  I  had  become 
a  matter  of  indifference  to  you.  .  .  ." 

Madame  de  Renal  wrung  her  hands. 

"  It  was  then  that  you  sent  me  the  sum  of  five  hundred 
francs." 

"  Never,"  said  Madame  de  Renal. 

"  It  was  a  letter  stamped  Paris  and  signed  Paul  Sorel  so  as 
to  avert  suspicion." 

There  was  a  little  discussion  about  how  the  letter  could 
possibly  have  originated. 

The  psychological  situation  was  altered.     Without  knowing 


AN  AMBITIOUS  MAN  227 

it  Julien  had  abandoned  his  solemn  tone;  they  were  now 
once  more  on  the  footing  of  a  tender  affection.  It  was  so 
dark  that  they  did  not  see  each  other  but  the  tone  of  their 
voices  was  eloquent  of  everything.  Julien  clasped  his  arm 
round-  his  love's  waist.  This  movement  had  its  dangers. 
She  tr  ed  to  put  Julien's  arms  away  from  her ;  at  this  juncture 
he  cleverly  diverted  her  attention  by  an  interesting  detail  in 
his  story.  The  arm  was  practically  forgotten  and  remained  in 
its  present  position. 

After  many  conjectures  as  to  the  origin  of  the  five  hundred 
francs  letter,  Julien  took  up  his  story.  He  regained  a  little  of 
his  self-control  as  he  spoke  of  his  past  life,  which  compared 
with  what  he  was  now  experiencing  interested  him  so  little. 
His  attention  was  now  concentrated  on  the  final  outcome  of 
of  his  visit.  "  You  will  have  to  go,"  were  the  curt  words  he 
heard  from  time  to  time. 

"  What  a  disgrace  for  me  if  I  am  dismissed.  My  remorse 
will  embitter  all  my  life,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  she  will  never 
write  to  me.  God  knows  when  I  shall  come  back  to  this  part 
of  the  country.  From  this  moment  Julien's  heart  became 
rapidly  oblivious  of  all  the  heavenly  delights  of  his  present 
position. 

Seated  as  he  was  close  to  a  woman  whom  he  adored  and 
practically  clasping  her  in  his  arms  in  this  room,  the  scene  of  his 
former  happiness,  amid  a  deep  obscurity,  seeing  quite  clearly  as 
he  did  that  she  had  just  started  crying,  and  feeling  that  she  was 
sobbing  from  the  heaving  of  her  chest,  he  was  unfortunate 
enough  to  turn  into  a  cold  diplomatist,  nearly  as  cold  as  in 
those  days  when  in  the  courtyard  of  the  seminary  he  found 
himself  the  butt  of  some  malicious  joke  on  the  part  of  one  of 
his  comrades  who  was  stronger  than  he  was.  Julien  pro- 
tracted his  story  by  talking  of  his  unhappy  life  since  his 
departure  from  Verrieres. 

"  So,"  said  Madame  de  Renal  to  herself,  "  after  a  year's 
absence  and  deprived  almost  entirely  of  all  tokens  of  memory 
while  I  myself  was  forgetting  him,  he  only  thought  of  the 
happy  days  that  he  had  had  in  Verrieres."  Her  sobs  redoubled. 
Julien  saw  the  success  of  his  story.  He  realised  that  he  must 
play  his  last  card.  He  abruptly  mentioned  a  letter  he  had 
just  received  from  Paris. 

"  I  have  taken  leave  of  my  Lord  Bishop." 


228       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"  What !  you  are  not  going  back  to  Besangon  ?  You  are 
leaving  us  for  ever  ?  " 

"  Yes,"  answered  Julien  resolutely,  "  yes,  I  am  leaving  a 
country  where  I  have  been  forgotten  even  by  the  woman 
whom  I  loved  more  than  anyone  in  my  life;  I  am  leaving 
it  and  I  shall  never  see  it  again.     I  am  going  to  Paris." 

u  You  are  going  to  Paris,  dear,"  exclaimed  Madame  Renal. 

Her  voice  was  almost  choked  by  her  tears  and  showed  the 
extremity  of  her  trouble.  Julien  had  need  of  this  encourage- 
ment. He  was  on  the  point  of  executing  a  manoeuvre  which 
might  decide  everything  against  him  ;  and  up  to  the  time  of 
this  exclamation  he  could  not  tell  what  effect  he  was 
producing  as  he  was  unable  to  see.  He  no  longer  hesitated. 
The  fear  of  remorse  gave  him  complete  control  over  himself. 
He  coldly  added  as  he  got  up. 

"  Yes,  madame,  I  leave  you  for  ever.  May  you  be  happy. 
Adieu." 

He  moved  some  steps  towards  the  window.  He  began  to 
open  it.  Madame  de  Renal  rushed  to  him  and  threw  herself 
into  his  arms.  So  it  was  in  this  way  that,  after  a  dialogue 
lasting  three  hours,  Julien  obtained  what  he  desired  so 
passionately  during  the  first  two  hours. 

Madame  de  Renal's  return  to  her  tender  feelings  and  this 
overshadowing  of  her  remorse  would  have  been  a  divine 
happiness  had  they  come  a  little  earlier;  but,  as  they  had 
been  obtained  by  artifice,  they  were  simply  a  pleasure. 
Julien  insisted  on  lighting  the  nightlight  in  spite  of  his 
mistress's  opposition. 

"  Do  you  wish  me  then,"  he  said  to  her  "  to  have  no 
recollection  of  having  seen  you."  Is  the  love  in  those 
charming  eyes  to  be  lost  to  me  for  ever  ?  Is  the  whiteness 
of  that  pretty  hand  to  remain  invisible  ?  Remember  that 
perhaps  I  am  leaving  you  for  a  very  long  time." 

Madame  de  Renal  could  refuse  him  nothing.  His  argument 
made  her  melt  into  tears.  But  the  dawn  was  beginning  to 
throw  into  sharp  relief  the  outlines  of  the  pine  trees  on 
the  mountain  east  of  Verrieres.  Instead  of  going  away 
Julien,  drunk  with  pleasure,  asked  Madame  de  Renal  to  let  him 
pass  the  day  in  her  room  and  leave  the  following  night. 

"And  why  not?"  she  answered.  "  This  fatal  relapse  robs 
me   of  all   my  respect  and   will   mar  all   my   life,"  and  she 


AN  AMBITIOUS  MAN  229 

pressed  him  to  her  heart.  My  husband  is  no  longer  the 
same ;  he  has  suspicions,  he  believes  I  led  him  the  way  I 
wanted  in  all  this  business,  and  shows  great  irritation 
against  me.  If  he  hears  the  slightest  noise  I  shall  be 
ruined,  he  will  hound  me  out  like  the  unhappy  woman  that 
I  am." 

"  Ah  here  we  have  a  phrase  of  M.  Chelan's,"  said  Julien 
"  you  would  not  have  talked  like  that  before  my  cruel  departure 
to  the  seminary ;  in  those  days  you  used  to  love  me," 

Julien  was  rewarded  for  the  frigidity  which  he  put  into 
those  words.  He  saw  his  love  suddenly  forget  the  danger 
which  her  husband's  presence  compelled  her  to  run,  in 
thinking  of  the  much  greater  danger  of  seeing  Julien  doubt 
her  love.  The  daylight  grew  rapidly  brighter  and  vividly 
illuminated  the  room.  Julien  savoured  once  more  all  the 
deliciousness  of  pride,  when  he  saw  this  charming  woman  in 
his  arms  and  almost  at  his  feet,  the  only  woman  whom  he 
had  ever  loved,  and  who  had  been  entirely  absorbed  only  a 
few  hours  before  by  her  fear  of  a  terrible  God  and  her 
devotion  to  her  duties.  Resolutions,  fortified  by  a  year's 
persuasion,  had  failed  to  hold  out  against  his  courage. 

They  soon  heard  a  noise  in  the  house.  A  matter  that 
Madame  de  Renal  had  not  thought  of  began  to  trouble 
her. 

"That  wicked  Elisa  will  come  into  the  room.  What  are  we 
to  do  with  this  enormous  ladder  ?  "  she  said  to  her  sweetheart, 
"  where  are  we  to  hide  it  ?  I  will  take  it  to  the  loft,"  she 
exclaimed  suddenly  half  playfully. 

"  But  you  will  have  to  pass  through  the  servants'  room," 
said  Julien  in  astonishment. 

"  I  will  leave  the  ladder  in  the  corridor  and  will  call  the 
servant  and  send  him  on  an  errand." 

"  Think  of  some  explanation  to  have  ready  in  the  event 
of  a  servant  passing  the  ladder  and  noticing  it  in  the 
corridor." 

"  Yes,  my  angel,"  said  Madame  de  Renal  giving  him  a  kiss 
"  as  for  you,  dear,  remember  to  hide  under  the  bed  pretty 
quickly  if  Elisa  enters  here  during  my  absence." 

Julien  was  astonished  by  this  sudden  gaiety — "So"  he 
thought,  "  the  approach  of  a  real  danger  instead  of  troubling 
her  gives  her  back  her  spirits  before  she  forgets  her  remorse. 


230       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Truly  a  superior  woman.  Yes,  that's  a  heart  over  which 
it  is  glorious  to  reign."  Julien  was  transported  with 
delight. 

Madame  de  Renal  took  the  ladder,  which  was  obviously  too 
heavy  for  her.  Julien  went  to  her  help.  He  was  admiring 
that  elegant  figure  which  was  so  far  from  betokening  any 
strength  when  she  suddenly  seized  the  ladder  without 
assistance  and  took  it  up  as  if  it  had  been  a  chair.  She  took 
it  rapidly  into  the  corridor  of  the  third  storey  where  she  laid 
it  alongside  the  wall.  She  called  a  servant,  and  in  order  to 
give  him  time  to  dress  himself,  went  up  into  the  dovecot. 

Five  minutes  later,  when  she  came  back  to  the  corridor, 
she  found  no  signs  of  the  ladder.  What  had  happened  to  it  ? 
If  Julien  had  been  out  of  the  house  she  would  not  have 
minded  the  danger  in  the  least.  But  supposing  her  husband 
were  to  see  the  ladder  just  now,  the  incident  might  be  awful. 
Madame  de  Renal  ran  all  over  the  house. 

Madame  de  Renal  finally  discovered  the  ladder  under  the 
roof  where  the  servant  had  carried  it  and  even  hid  it. 

"  What  does  it  matter  what  happens  in  twenty-four  hours," 
she  thought,  "  when  Julien  will  be  gone  ?  " 

She  had  a  vague  idea  that  she  ought  to  take  leave  of  life 
but  what  mattered  her  duty  ?  He  was  restored  to  her  after  a 
separation  which  she  had  thought  eternal.  She  was  seeing 
him  again  and  the  efforts  he  had  made  to  reach  her  showed 
the  extent  of  his  love. 

"  What  shall  I  say  to  my  husband,"  she  said  to  him.  "  If 
the  servant  tells  him  he  found  this  ladder  ?  "  She  was  pensive 
for  a  moment.  "  They  will  need  twenty-four  hours  to  discover 
the  peasant  who  sold  it  to  you."  And  she  threw  herself  into 
Julien's  arms  and  clasped  him  convulsively. 

"  Oh,  if  I  could  only  die  like  this,"  she  cried  covering  him 
with  kisses.  "  But  you  mustn't  die  of  starvation,"  she  said 
with  a  smile. 

"  Come,  I  will  first  hide  you  in  Madame  Derville's  room 
which  is  always  locked."  She  went  and  watched  at  the  other 
end  of  the  corridor  and  Julien  ran  in.  "  Mind  you  don't  try 
and  open  if  any  one  knocks,"  she  said  as  she  locked  him  in. 
"  Anyway  it  would  only  be  a  frolic  of  the  children  as  they 
play  together." 

"  Get  them  to  come  into  the  garden  under  the  window," 


AN  AMBITIOUS  MAN  231 

said  Julien,  "  so  that  I  may  have  the  pleasure  of  seeing  them. 
Make  them  speak." 

"  Yes,  yes,"  cried  Madame  de  Renal  to  him  as  she  went 
away.  She  soon  returned  with  oranges,  biscuits  and  a  bottle 
of  Malaga  wine.     She  had  not  been  able  to  steal  any  bread. 

"  What  is  your  husband  doing  ?  "  said  Julien. 

"  He  is  writing  out  the  figures  of  the  bargains  he  is  going  to 
make  with  the  peasants." 

But  eight  o'clock  had  struck  and  they  were  making  a  lot  of 
noise  in  the  house.  If  Madame  de  Renal  failed  to  put  in  an 
appearance,  they  would  look  for  her  all  over  the  house.  She 
was  obliged  to  leave  him.  Soon  she  came  back,  in  defiance 
of  all  prudence,  bringing  him  a  cup  of  coffee.  She  was 
frightened  lest  he  should  die  of  starvation. 

She  managed  after  breakfast  to  bring  the  children  under 
the  window  of  Madame  Derville's  room.  He  thought  they 
had  grown  a  great  deal,  but  they  had  begun  to  look  common, 
or  else  his  ideas  had  changed.  Madame  de  Renal  spoke  to 
them  about  Julien.  The  elder  answered  in  an  affectionate 
tone  and  regretted  his  old  tutor,  but  he  found  that  the  younger 
children  had  almost  forgotten  him. 

M.  de  Renal  did  not  go  out  that  morning ;  he  was  going  up 
and  downstairs  incessantly  engaged  in  bargaining  with  some 
peasants  to  whom  he  was  selling  potatoes. 

Madame  de  Renal  did  not  have  an  instant  to  give  to  her 
prisoner  until  dinner-time.  When  the  bell  had  been  rung 
and  dinner  had  been  served,  it  occurred  to  her  to  steal  a  plate 
of  warm  soup  for  him.  As  she  noiselessly  approached  the 
door  of  the  room  which  he  occupied,  she  found  herself  face 
to  face  with  the  servant  who  had  hid  the  ladder  in  the 
morning.  At  the  time  he  too  was  going  noiselessly  along  the 
corridor,  as  though  listening  for  something.  The  servant 
took  himself  off  in  some  confusion. 

Madame  de  Renal  boldly  entered  Julien's  room.  The 
news  of  this  encounter  made  him  shudder. 

"  You  are  frightened,"  she  said  to  him,  "  but  I  would  brave 
all  the  dangers  in  the  world  without  flinching.  There  is  only 
one  thing  I  fear,  and  that  is  the  moment  when  I  shall  be  alone 
after  you  have  left,"  and  she  left  him  and  ran  downstairs. 

"Ah,"  thought  Julien  ecstatically,  "remorse  is  the  only 
panger  which  this  sublime  soul  is  afraid  of." 


232       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

At  last  evening  came.  Monsieur  de  Renal  went  to  the 
Casino. 

His  wife  had  given  out  that  she  was  suffering  from  an 
awful  headache.  She  went  to  her  room,  hastened  to  dismiss 
Elisa  and  quickly  got  up  in  order  to  let  Julien  out. 

He  was  literally  starving.  Madame  de  Renal  went  to  the 
pantry  to  fetch  some  bread.  Julien  heard  a  loud  cry. 
Madame  de  Renal  came  back  and  told  him  that  when  she 
went  to  the  dark  pantry  and  got  near  the  cupboard  where 
they  kept  the  bread,  she  had  touched  a  woman's  arm  as  she 
stretched  out  her  hand.  It  was  Elisa  who  had  uttered  the 
cry  Julien  had  heard. 

"  What  was  she  doing  there  ?  " 

"Stealing  some  sweets  or  else  spying  on  us,"  said  Madame 
de  Renal  with  complete  indifference,  "  but  luckily  I  found  a 
pie  and  a  big  loaf  of  bread." 

"  But  what  have  you  got  there  ?  "  said  Julien  pointing  to 
the  pockets  of  her  apron. 

Madame  de  Renal  had  forgotten  that  they  had  been  filled 
with  bread  since  dinner. 

Julien  clasped  her  in  his  arms  with  the  most  lively  passion. 
She  had  never  seemed  to  him  so  beautiful.  "  I  could  not 
meet  a  woman  of  greater  character  even  at  Paris,"  he  said 
confusedly  to  himself.  She  combined  all  the  clumsiness  of  a 
woman  who  was  but  little  accustomed  to  paying  attentions  of 
this  kind,  with  all  the  genuine  courage  of  a  person  who  is 
only  afraid  of  dangers  of  quite  a  different  sphere  and  quite  a 
different  kind  of  awfulness. 

While  Julien  was  enjoying  his  supper  with  a  hearty  appetite 
and  his  sweetheart  was  rallying  him  on  the  simplicity  of  the 
meal,  the  door  of  the  room  was  suddenly  shaken  violently. 
It  was  M.  de  Renal. 

"  Why  have  you  shut  yourself  in  ?  "  he  cried  to  her. 

Julien  had  only  just  time  to  slip  under  the  sofa. 

On  any  ordinary  day  Madame  de  Renal  would  have  been 
upset  by  this  question  which  was  put  with  true  conjugal 
harshness ;  but  she  realised  that  M.  de  Renal  had  only  to  bend 
down  a  little  to  notice  Julien,  for  M.  de  Renal  had  flung 
himself  into  the  chair  opposite  the  sofa  which  Julien  had  been 
sitting  in  one  moment  before. 

Her  headache  served  as  an  excuse  for  everything.     While 


AN  AMBITIOUS  MAN  233 

her  husband  on  his  side  went  into  a  long-winded  account  of 
the  billiards  pool  which  he  had  won  at  Casino,  "yes,  to  be 
sure  a  nineteen  franc  pool,"  he  added.  She  noticed  Julien's  hat 
on  a  chair  three  paces  in  front  of  them.  Her  self-possession 
became  twice  as  great,  she  began  to  undress,  and  rapidly 
passing  one  minute  behind  her  husband  threw  her  dress  over 
the  chair  with  the  hat  on  it. 

At  last  M.  de  Renal  left.  She  begged  Julien  to  start  over 
again  his  account  of  his  life  at  the  Seminary.  "  I  was  not 
listening  to  you  yesterday  all  the  time  you  were  speaking,  I 
was  only  thinking  of  prevailing  on  myself  to  send  you  away." 

She  was  the  personification  of  indiscretion.  They  talked 
very  loud  and  about  two  o'clock  in  the  morning  they  were 
interrupted  by  a  violent  knock  at  the  door.  It  was  M.  de 
Renal  again. 

"  Open  quickly,  there  are  thieves  in  the  house  ! "  he  said. 
"  Saint  Jean  found  their  ladder  this  morning." 

"  This  is  the  end  of  everything,"  cried  Madame  de  Renal, 
throwing  herself  into  Julien's  arms.  "  He  will  kill  both  of  us, 
he  doesn't  believe  there  are  any  thieves.  I  will  die  in  your 
arms,  and  be  more  happy  in  my  death  than  I  ever  was  in  my 
life."  She  made  no  attempt  to  answer  her  husband  who  was 
beginning  to  lose  his  temper,  but  started  kissing  Julien 
passionately. 

"  Save  Stanislas's  mother,"  he  said  to  her  with  an  imperious 
look.  "  I  will  jump  down  into  the  courtyard  through  the 
lavatory  window,  and  escape  in  the  garden ;  the  dogs  have 
recognised  me.  Make  my  clothes  into  a  parcel  and  throw 
them  into  the  garden  as  soon  as  you  can.  In  the  meanwhile 
let  him  break  the  door  down.  But  above  all,  no  confession, 
I  forbid  you  to  confess,  it  is  better  that  he  should  suspect 
rather  than  be  certain." 

"  You  will  kill  yourself  as  you  jump  ! "  was  her  only  answer 
and  her  only  anxiety. 

She  went  with  him  to  the  lavatory  window  ;  she  then  took 
sufficient  time  to  hide  his  clothes.  She  finally  opened  the 
door  to  her  husband  who  was  boiling  with  rage.  He  looked 
in  the  room  and  in  the  lavatory  without  saying  a  word  and 
disappeared.  Julien's  clothes  were  thrown  down  to  him ;  he 
seized  them  and  ran  rapidly  towards  the  bottom  of  the  garden 
in  the  direction  of  the  Doubs. 


234  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

As  he  was  running  he  heard  a  bullet  whistle  past  him,  and 
heard  at  the  same  time  the  report  of  a  gun. 

"  It  is  not  M.  de  Renal,"  he  thought,  "  he's  far  too  bad  a 
shot."  The  dogs  ran  silently  at  his  side,  the  second  shot 
apparently  broke  the  paw  of  one  dog,  for  he  began  to  whine 
piteously.  Julien  jumped  the  wall  of  the  terrace,  did  fifty 
paces  under  cover,  and  began  to  fly  in  another  direction.  He 
heard  voices  calling  and  had  a  distinct  view  of  his  enemy  the 
servant  firing  a  gun ;  a  farmer  also  began  to  shoot  away  from 
the  other  side  of  the  garden.  Julien  had  already  reached  the 
bank  of  the  Doubs  where  he  dressed  himself. 

An  hour  later  he  was  a  league  from  Verrieres  on  the  Geneva 
road.  "If  they  had  suspicions,"  thought  Julien,  "they  will 
look  for  me  on  the  Paris  road." 


CHAPTER  XXXI 

HE   PLEASURES    OF   THE    COUNTRY 

O  rus  quando  ego  te  aspirfam?  —Horace 

"  You've  no  doubt  come  to  wait  for  the  Paris  mail,"  Monsieur, 
said  the  host  of  an  inn  where  he  had  stopped  to  breakfast. 

"To-day  or  to-morrow,  it  matters  little,"  said  Julien. 

The  mail  arrived  while  he  was  still  posing  as  indifferent. 
There  were  two  free  places. 

"Why !  it's  you  my  poor  Falcoz,"  said  the  traveller  who  was 
coming  from  the  Geneva  side  to  the  one  who  was  getting  in  at 
the  same  time  as  Julien. 

"  I  thought  you  were  settled  in  the  outskirts  of  Lyons," 
said  Falcoz,  "  in  a  delicious  valley  near  the  Rhne." 

"  Nicely  settled  !     I  am  running  away." 

"  What !  you  are  running  away  ?  you  Saint  Giraud  !  Have 
you,  who  look  so  virtuous,  committed  some  crime?"  said 
Falcoz  with  a  smile. 

"  On  my  faith  it  comes  to  the  same  thing.  I  am  running 
away  from  the  abominable  life  which  one  leads  in  the  pro- 
vinces. I  like  the  freshness  of  the  woods  and  the  country 
tranquillity,  as  you  know.  You  have  often  accused  me  01 
being  romantic.  I  don't  want  to  hear  politics  talked  as  long 
as  I  live,  and  politics  are  hounding  me  out." 

"  But  what  party  do  you  belong  to  ?  " 

"To  none  and  that's  what  ruins  me.  That's  all  there  is  to 
be  said  about  my  political  life — I  like  music  and  painting.  A 
good  book  is  an  event  for  me.  I  am  going  to  be  forty-four. 
How  much  longer  have  I  got  to  live  ?  Fifteen — twenty — thirty 
years  at  the  outside.  Well,  I  want  the  ministers  in  thirty 
years'  time  to  be  a  little  cleverer  than  those  of  to-day  but  quite 
as  honest.      The  history  of  England  serves  as  a  mirror  for  our 


236       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

own  future.  There  will  always  be  a  king  who  will  try  to  in- 
crease his  prerogative.  The  ambition  of  becoming  a  deputy, 
the  fame  of  Mirabeau  and  the  hundreds  of  thousand  francs 
which  he  won  for  himself  will  always  prevent  the  rich  people 
in  the  province  from  going  to  sle^p :  they  will  call  that  being 
Liberal  and  loving  the  people.  The  desire  of  becoming  a 
peer  or  a  gentleman  of  the  chamoer  will  always  win  over  the 
ultras.  On  the  ship  of  state  every  one  is  anxious  to  take 
over  the  steering  because  it  is  well  paid.  Will  there  be  never 
a  poor  little  place  for  the  simple  passenger  ?  " 

"  Is  it  the  last  elections  which  are  forcing  you  out  of  the 
province  ?  " 

"  My  misfortune  goes  further  back.  Four  years  ago  I  was 
forty  and  possessed  500,000  francs.  I  am  four  years  older 
to-day  and  probably  50,000  francs  to  the  bad,  as  I  shall  lose 
that  sum  on  the  sale  of  my  chteau  of  Monfleury  in  a  superb 
position  near  the  Rhne. 

"  At  Paris  I  was  tired  of  that  perpetual  comedy  which  is 
rendered  obligatory  by  what  you  call  nineteenth-century 
civilisation.  I  thirsted  for  good  nature  and  simplicity.  I 
bought  an  estate  in  the  mountains  near  the  Rhne,  there  was 
no  more  beautiful  place  under  the  heavens. 

"  The  village  clergyman  and  the  gentry  of  the  locality  pay 
me  court  for  six  months ;  I  invite  them  to  dinner ;  I  have  left 
Paris,  I  tell  them,  so  as  to  avoid  talking  politics  or  hearing 
politics  talked  for  the  rest  of  my  life.  As  you  know  I  do  not 
subscribe  to  any  paper,  the  less  letters  the  postman  brought 
me  the  happier  I  was. 

"  That  did  not  suit  the  vicar's  book.  I  was  soon  the  victim  of 
a  thousand  unreasonable  requests,  annoyances,  etc.  I  wished 
to  give  two  or  three  hundred  francs  a  year  to  the  poor,  I  was 
asked  to  give  it  to  the  Paris  associations,  that  of  Saint  Joseph, 
that  of  the  Virgin,  etc.  I  refused.  I  was  then  insulted  in  a 
hundred  ways.  I  was  foolish  enough  to  be  upset  by  it.  I 
could  not  go  out  in  the  morning  to  enjoy  the  beauty  of  our 
mountain  without  finding  some  annoyance  which  distracted 
me  from  my  reveries  and  recalled  unpleasantly  both  men  and 
their  wickedness.  On  the  Rogation  processions,  for  instance 
whose  chanting  I  enjoy  (it  is  probably  a  Greek  melody)  they 
will  not  bless  my  fields  because,  says  the  clergyman,  they 
belong  to  an  infidel.     A  cow  dies  belonging  to  a  devout  old 


THE  PLEASURES  OF  THE  COUNTRY        237 

peasant  woman.  She  says  the  reason  is  the  neighbourhood  of 
a  pond  which  belongs  to  my  infidel  self,  a  philosopher  coming 
from  Paris,  and  eight  days  afterwards  I  find  my  fish  in  agonies 
poisoned  by  lime.  Intrigue  in  all  its  forms  envelops  me.  The 
justice  of  the  peace,  who  is  an  honest  man,  but  frightened  of 
losing  his  place,  always  decides  against  me.  The  peace  of  the 
country  proved  a  hell  for  me.  Once  they  saw  that  I  was 
abandoned  by  the  vicar,  the  head  of  the  village  congregation, 
and  that  I  was  not  supported  by  the  retired  captain  who  was 
the  head  of  the  Liberals  they  all  fell  upon  me,  down  to  the 
mason  whom  I  had  supported  for  a  year,  down  to  the  very 
wheel-wright  who  wanted  to  cheat  me  with  impunity  over  the 
repairing  of  my  ploughs. 

"  In  order  to  find  some  support,  and  to  win  at  any  rate  some 
of  my  law  suits  I  became  a  Liberal,  but,  as  you  say,  those 
damned  elections  come  along.      They  asked  me  for  my  vote." 
"  For  an  unknown  man  ?  " 

"  Not  at  all,  for  a  man  whom  I  knew  only  too  well.  I  re- 
fused. It  was  terribly  imprudent.  From  that  moment  I  had 
the  Liberals  on  my  hands  as  well,  and  my  position  became 
intolerable.  I  believe  that  if  the  vicar  had  got  it  into  his  head 
to  accuse  me  of  assassinating  my  servant,  there  would  be 
twenty  witnesses  of  the  two  parties  who  would  swear  that  they 
had  seen  me  committing  the  crime." 

"  You  mean  to  say  you  want  to  live  in  the  country  without 
pandering  to  the  passions  of  your  neighbours,  without  even 
listening  to  their  gossip.     What  a  mistake  !  " 

"  It  is  rectified  at  last.  Monfleury  is  for  sale.  I  will  lose 
50,000  francs  if  necessary,  but  I  am  over-joyed  I  am  leaving 
that  hell  of  hypocrisy  and  annoyance.  I  am  going  to  look  for 
solitude  and  rustic  peace  in  the  only  place  where  those  things 
are  to  be  found  in  France,  on  a  fourth  storey  looking  on  to  the  . 
Champs-Elysees ;  and,  moreover,  I  am  actually  deliberating  if  I 
shall  not  commence  my  political  career  by  giving  consecrated 
bread  to  the  parish  in  the  Roule  quarter." 

"  All  this  would  not  have  happened  under  Bonaparte,"  said 
Falcoz  with  eyes  shining  with  rage  and  sorrow. 

"  Very  good,  but  why  didn't  your  Bonaparte  manage  to 
keep  his  position?  Everything  which  I  suffer  to-day  is  his 
work." 

At  this  point  Julien's  attention  was  redoubled.      He  had 


238  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

realised  from  the  first  word  that  the  Bonapartist  Falcoz  was 
the  old  boyhood  friend  of  M.  de  Renal,  who  had  been  repudiated 
by  him  in  18 16,  and  that  the  philosopher  Saint-Giraud  must 

be  the   brother  of  that  chief  of  the  prefecture  of who 

managed  to  get  the  houses  of  the  municipality  knocked  down 
to  him  at  a  cheap  price. 

"  And  all  this  is  the  work  of  your  Bonaparte.  An  honest 
man,  aged  forty,  and  possessed  of  five  hundred  thousand  francs 
however  inoffensive  he  is,  cannot  settle  in  the  provinces 
and  find  peace  there ;  those  priests  and  nobles  of  his  will  turn 
him  out." 

"  Oh  don't  talk  evil  of  him,"  exclaimed  Falcoz.  "  France 
was  never  so  high  in  the  esteem  of  the  nations  as  during  the 
thirteen  years  of  his  reign ;  then  every  single  act  was  great." 

"  Your  emperor,  devil  take  him,"  replied  the  man  of  forty- 
four,  "was  only  great  on  his  battle  fields  and  when  he  re- 
organised the  finances  about  1802.  What  is  the  meaning  of 
all  his  conduct  since  then  ?  What  with  his  chamberlains,  his 
pomp,  and  his  receptions  in  the  Tuileries,  he  has  simply  pro- 
vided a  new  edition  of  all  the  monarchical  tomfoolery.  It 
was  a  revised  edition  and  might  possibly  have  lasted  for  a 
century  or  two.  The  nobles  and  the  priests  wish  to  go  back 
to  the  old  one,  but  they  did  not  have  the  iron  hand  necessary 
to  impose  it  on  the  public." 

"  Yes,  that's  just  how  an  old  printer  would  talk." 

"Who  has  turned  me  out  of  my  estate?"  continued  the 
printer,  angrily.  "The  priests,  whom  Napoleon  called  back 
by  his  Concordat  instead  of  treating  them  like  the  State  treats 
doctors,  barristers,  and  astronomers,  simply  seeing  in  them 
ordinary  citizens,  and  not  bothering  about  the  particular 
calling  by  which  they  are  trying  to  earn  their  livelihood.  Should 
we  be  saddled  with  these  insolent  gentlemen  today,  if  your 
Bonaparte  had  not  created  barons  and  counts?  No,  they 
were  out  of  fashion.  Next  to  the  priests,  it's  the  little  country 
nobility  who  have  annoyed  me  the  most,  and  compelled  me 
to  become  a  Liberal." 

The  conversation  was  endless.  The  theme  will  occupy 
France  for  another  half-century.  As  Saint-Giraud  kept  always 
repeating  that  it  was  impossible  to  live  in  the  provinces,  Julien 
timidly  suggested  the  case  of  M.  de  Renal. 

"  Zounds,  young  man,  you're  a  nice  one,"  exclaimed  Falcoz 


THE  PLEASURES  OF  THE  COUNTRY        239 

"  He  turned  spider  so  as  not  to  be  fly,  and  a  terrible  spider 
into  the  bargain.  But  I  see  that  he  is  beaten  by  that  man 
Valenod.  Do  you  know  that  scoundrel  ?  He's  the  villain  of 
the  piece.  What  will  your  M.  de  Renal  say  if  he  sees  himself 
turned  out  one  of  these  fine  days,  and  Valenod  put  in  his 
place  ?  " 

"  He  will  be  left  to  brood  over  his  crimes,"  said  Saint- 
Giraud.  "  Do  you  know  Verrieres,  young  man  ?  Well, 
Bonaparte,  heaven  confound  him !  Bonaparte  and  his 
monarchical  tomfoolery  rendered  possible  the  reign  of  the 
Renals  and  the  Chelans,  which  brought  about  the  reign  of 
the  Valenods  and  the  Maslons." 

This  conversation,  with  its  gloomy  politics,  astonished 
Julien  and  distracted  him  from  his  delicious  reveries. 

He  appreciated  but  little  the  first  sight  of  Paris  as  perceived 
in  the  distance.  The  castles  in  the  air  he  had  built  about  his 
future  had  to  struggle  with  the  still  present  memory  of  the 
twenty-four  hours  that  he  had  just  passed  in  Verrieres.  He 
vowed  that  he  would  never  abandon  his  mistress's  children, 
and  that  he  would  leave  everything  in  order  to  protect 
them,  if  the  impertinence  of  the  priests  brought  about  a 
republic  and  the  persecution  of  the  nobles. 

What  would  have  happened  on  the  night  of  his  arrival  in 
Verrieres  if,  at  the  moment  when  he  had  leant  his  ladder 
against  the  casement  of  Madame  de  Renal's  bedroom  he  had 
found  that  room  occupied  by  a  stranger  or  by  M.  de  Renal  ? 

But  how  delicious,  too,  had  been  those  first  two  hours 
when  his  sweetheart  had  been  sincerely  anxious  to  send  him 
away  and  he  had  pleaded  his  cause,  sitting  down  by  her  in 
the  darkness !  A  soul  like  Julien's  is  haunted  by  such 
memories  for  a  lifetime.  The  rest  of  the  interview  was 
already  becoming  merged  in  the  first  period  of  their  love, 
fourteen  months  previous. 

Julien  was  awakened  from  his  deep  meditation  by  the 
stopping  of  the  coach.  They  had  just  entered  the  courtyard 
of  the  Post  in  the  Rue  Rousseau.  "  I  want  to  go  to  La 
Malmaison,"  he  said  to  a  cabriolet  which  approached. 

"  At  this  time,  Monsieur — what  for  ?  " 

"  What's  that  got  to  do  with  you  ?     Get  on." 

Every  real  passion  only  thinks  about  itself.  That  is  why,  in 
my  view,  passions  are  ridiculous  at  Paris,  where  one's  neigh- 


24o       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

bour  always  insists  on  one's  considering  him  a  great  deal.  I 
shall  refrain  from  recounting  Julien's  ecstasy  at  La  Malmaison. 
He  wept.  What !  in  spite  of  those  wretched  white  walls, 
built  this  very  year,  which  cut  the  path  up  into  bits  ?  Yes, 
monsieur,  for  Julien,  as  for  posterity,  there  was  nothing  to 
choose  between  Arcole,  Saint  Helena,  and  La  Malmaison. 

In  the  evening,  Julien  hesitated  a  great  deal  before  going  to 
the  theatre.    He  had  strange  ideas  about  that  place  of  perdition. 

A  deep  distrust  prevented  him  from  admiring  actual  Paris.  He 
was  only  affected  by  the  monuments  left  behind  by  his  hero. 

"  So  here  I  am  in  the  centre  of  intrigue  and  hypocrisy. 
Here  reign  the  protectors  of  the  abbe  de  Frilair."  On  the 
evening  of  the  third  day  his  curiosity  got  the  better  of  his  plan 
of  seeing  everything  before  presenting  himself  to  the  abbe 
Pirard.  The  abbe  explained  to  him  coldly  the  kind  of  life 
which  he  was  to  expect  at  M.  de  la  Mole's. 

"  If  you  do  not  prove  useful  to  him  at  the  end  of  some 
months  you  will  go  back  to  the  seminary,  but  not  in  disgrace. 
You  will  live  in  the  house  of  the  marquis,  who  is  one  of  the 
greatest  seigneurs  of  France.  You  will  wear  black,  but  like  a 
man  who  is  in  mourning,  and  not  like  an  ecclesiastic.  I  insist 
on  your  following  your  theological  studies  three  days  a  week 
in  a  seminary  where  I  will  introduce  you.  Every  day  at  twelve 
o'clock  you  will  establish  yourself  in  the  marquis's  library ;  he 
counts  on  making  use  of  you  in  drafting  letters  concerning 
his  lawsuits  and  other  matters.  The  marquis  will  scribble  on 
the  margin  of  each  letter  he  gets  the  kind  of  answer  which  is 
required.  I  have  assured  him  that  at  the  end  of  three  months 
you  will  be  so  competent  to  draft  the  answers,  that  out  of 
every  dozen  you  hand  to  the  marquis  for  signature,  he  will  be 
able  to  sign  eight  or  nine.  In  the  evening,  at  eight  o'clock, 
you  will  tidy  up  his  bureau,  and  at  ten  you  will  be  free. 

"  It  may  be,"  continued  the  abbe  Pirard,  "  that  some  old  lady 
or  some  smooth-voiced  man  will  hint  at  immense  advantages, 
or  will  crudely  offer  you  gold,  to  show  him  the  letters  which 
the  marquis  has  received." 

"  Ah,  monsieur,"  exclaimed  Julien,  blushing. 

"  It  is  singular,"  said  the  abbe  with  a  bitter  smile,  "  that 
poor  as  you  are,  and  after  a  year  at  a  seminary,  you  still  have 
any  of  this  virtuous  indignation  left.  You  must  have  been 
very  blind." 


THE  PLEASURES  OF  THE  COUNTRY        241 

"Can  it  be  that  blood  will  tell,"  muttered  the  abbe  in  a 
whisper,  as  though  speaking  to  himself.  "  The  singular  thing 
is,"  he  added,  looking  at  Julien,  "  that  the  marquis  knows  you 
— I  don't  know  how.  He  will  give  you  a  salary  of  a  hundred 
louis  to  commence  with.  He  is  a  man  who  only  acts  by  his 
whim.  That  is  his  weakness.  He  will  quarrel  with  you  about 
the  most  childish  matters.  If  he  is  satisfied,  your  wages  may 
rise  in  consequence  up  to  eight  thousand  francs. 

"  But  you  realise,"  went  on  the  abbe,  sourly,  "  that  he  is 
not  giving  you  all  this  money  simply  on  account  of  your 
personal  charm.  The  thing  is  to  prove  yourself  useful.  If  I 
were  in  your  place  I  would  talk  very  little,  and  I  would  never 
talk  about  what  I  know  nothing  about. 

"  Oh,  yes,"  said  the  abbe,  "  I  have  made  some  enquiries  for 
you.  I  was  forgetting  M.  de  la  Mole's  family.  He  has  two 
children — a  daughter  and  a  son  of  nineteen,  eminently  elegant 
— the  kind  of  madman  who  never  knows  to-day  what  he  will 
do  to-morrow.  He  has  spirit  and  valour ;  he  has  been  through 
the  Spanish  war.  The  marquis  hopes,  I  don't  know  why,  that 
you  will  become  a  friend  of  the  young  count  Norbert.  I 
told  him  that  you  were  a  great  classic,  and  possibly  he  reckons 
on  your  teaching  his  son  some  ready-made  phrases  about 
Cicero  and  Virgil. 

"  If  I  were  you,  I  should  never  allow  that  handsome  young 
man  to  make  fun  of  me,  and  before  I  accepted  his  advances, 
which  you  will  find  perfectly  polite  but  a  little  ironical,  I  would 
make  him  repeat  them  more  than  once. 

"  I  will  not  hide  from  you  the  fact  that  the  young  count 
de  La  Mole  is  bound  to  despise  you  at  first,  because  you  are 
nothing  more  than  a  little  bourgeois.  His  grandfather  belonged 
to  the  court,  and  had  the  honour  of  having  his  head  cut  off  in 
the  Place  de  Greve  on  the  26th  April,  1574,  on  account  of  a 
political  intrigue. 

"  As  for  you,  you  are  the  son  of  a  carpenter  of  Verrieres, 
and  what  is  more,  in  receipt  of  his  father's  wages.  Ponder 
well  over  these  differences,  and  look  up  the  family  history  in 
Moreri.  All  the  flatterers  who  dine  at  their  house  make  from 
time  to  time  what  they  call  delicate  allusions  to  it. 

"  Be  careful  of  how  you  answer  the  pleasantries  of  M.  the 
count  de  La  Mole,  chief  of  a  squadron  of  hussars,  and  a  future 
peer  of  France,  and  don't  come  and  complain  to  me  later  on." 

1$ 


242       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"  It  seems  to  me,"  said  Julien,  blushing  violently,  "  that  I 
ought  not  even  to  answer  a  man  who  despises  me." 

"  You  have  no  idea  of  his  contempt.  It  will  only  manifest 
itself  by  inflated  compliments.  If  you  were  a  fool,  you  might 
be  taken  in  by  it.  If  you  want  to  make  your  fortune,  you 
ought  to  let  yourself  be  taken  in  by  it." 

"  Shall  I  be  looked  upon  as  ungrateful,"  said  Julien,  "  if  I 
return  to  my  little  cell  Number  108  when  I  find  that  all  this 
no  longer  suits  me  ?  " 

"  All  the  toadies  of  the  house  will  no  doubt  calumniate  you," 
said  the  abbe,  "  but  I  myself  will  come  to  the  rescue.  Adsum 
qui  feci.     I  will  say  that  I  am  responsible  for  that  resolution." 

Julien  was  overwhelmed  by  the  bitter  and  almost  vindictive 
tone  which  he  noticed  in  M.  Pirard  ;  that  tone  completely 
infected  his  last  answer. 

The  fact  is  that  the  abbe  had  a  conscientious  scruple  about 
loving  Julien,  and  it  was  with  a  kind  of  religious  fear  that  he 
took  so  direct  a  part  in  another's  life. 

"  You  will  also  see,"  he  added  with  the  same  bad  grace,  as 
though  accomplishing  a  painful  duty,  "you  also  will  see  Madame 
the  marquise  de  La  Mole.  She  is  a  big  blonde  woman  about 
forty,  devout,  perfectly  polite,  and  even  more  insignificant.  She 
is  the  daughter  of  the  old  Duke  de  Chaulnes  so  well  known 
for  his  aristocratic  prejudices.  This  great  lady  is  a  kind  of 
synopsis  in  high  relief  of  all  the  fundamental  characteristics 
of  women  of  her  rank.  She  does  not  conceal  for  her  own 
part  that  the  possession  of  ancestors  who  went  through  the 
crusades  is  the  sole  advantage  which  she  respects.  Money 
only  comes  a  long  way  afterwards.  Does  that  astonish  you  ? 
We  are  no  longer  in  the  provinces,  my  friend. 

"  You  will  see  many  great  lords  in  her  salon  talk  about  our 
princes  in  a  tone  of  singular  flippancy.  As  for  Madame  de 
la  Mole,  she  lowers  her  voice  out  of  respect  every  time  she 
mentions  the  name  of  a  Prince,  and  above  all  the  name  of  a 
Princess.  I  would  not  advise  you  to  say  in  her  hearing  that 
Philip  II.  or  Henry  VII.  were  monsters.  They  were  kings, 
a  fact  which  gives  them  indisputable  rights  to  the  respect  of 
creatures  without  birth  like  you  and  me.  Nevertheless," 
added  M.  Pirard,  "  we  are  priests,  for  she  will  take  you  for  one ; 
that  being  our  capacity,  she  considers  us  as  spiritual  valets 
necessary  for  her  salvation." 


THE  PLEASURES  OF  THE  COUNTRY        243 

"  Monsieur,"  said  Julien,  "  I  do  not  think  I  shall  be  long 
at  Paris." 

"  Good,  but  remember  that  no  man  of  our  class  can  make 
his  fortune  except  through  the  great  lords.  With  that  indefin- 
able element  in  your  character,  at  any  rate  I  think  it  is,  you  will 
be  persecuted  if  you  do  not  make  your  fortune.  There  is  no 
middle  course  for  you,  make  no  mistake  about  it ;  people  see 
that  they  do  not  give  you  pleasure  when  they  speak  to  you ; 
in  a  social  country  like  this  you  are  condemned  to  unhappi- 
ness  if  you  do  not  succeed  in  winning  respect." 

What  would  have  become  of  you  at  Besancon  without  this 
whim  of  the  marquis  de  la  Mole  ?  One  day  you  will  realise 
the  extraordinary  extent  of  what  he  has  done  for  you,  and 
if  you  are  not  a  monster  you  will  be  eternally  grateful  to  him 
and  his  family.  How  many  poor  abbes  more  learned  than 
you  have  lived  years  at  Paris  on  the  fifteen  sous  they 
got  for  their  mass  and  their  ten  sous  they  got  for  their 
dissertations  in  the  Sorbonne.  Remember  what  I  told 
you  last  winter  about  the  first  years  of  that  bad  man  Cardinal 
Dubois.  Are  you  proud  enough  by  chance  to  think  yourself 
more  talented  than  he  was  ?  " 

"Take,  for  instance,  a  quiet  and  average  man  like  myself;  I 
reckoned  on  dying  in  my  seminary.  I  was  childish  enough 
to  get  attached  to  it.  Well  I  was  on  the  point  of  being  turned 
out,  when  I  handed  in  my  resignation.  You  know  what  my 
fortune  consisted  of.  I  had  five  hundred  and  twenty  francs 
capital  neither  more  nor  less,  not  a  friend,  scarcely  two  or 
three  acquaintances.  M.  de  la  Mole,  whom  I  had  never 
seen,  extricated  me  from  that  quandary.  He  only  had  to  say 
the  word  and  I  was  given  a  living  where  the  parishioners  are 
well-to-do  people  above  all  crude  vices,  and  where  the  income 
puts  me  to  shame,  it  is  so  disproportionate  to  my  work.  I 
refrained  from  talking  to  you  all  this  time  simply  to  enable 
you  to  find  your  level  a  bit. 

"  One  word  more,  I  have  the  misfortune  to  be  irritable.  It 
is  possible  that  you  and  I  will  cease  to  be  on  speaking  terms. 

"  If  the  airs  of  the  marquise  or  the  spiteful  pleasantries  of 
her  son  make  the  house  absolutely  intolerable  for  you  I  advise 
you  to  finish  your  studies  in  some  seminary  thirty  leagues 
from  Paris  and  rather  north  than  south.  There  is  more 
civilisation  in  the  north,  and,  he  added  lowering  his  voice,  I 


244  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

must  admit  that  the  nearness  of  the  Paris  papers  puts  fear 
into  our  petty  tyrants. 

"  If  we  continue  to  find  pleasure  in  each  other's  society  and 
if  the  marquis's  house  does  not  suit  you,  I  will  offer  you  the 
post  of  my  curate,  and  will  go  equal  shares  with  you  in  what 
I  get  from  the  living.  I  owe  you  that  and  even  more,  he 
added  interrupting  Julien's  thanks,  for  the  extraordinary  offer 
which  you  made  me  at  Besancon.  If  instead  of  having  five 
hundred  and  twenty  francs  I  had  had  nothing  you  would  have 
saved  me." 

The  abbe's  voice  had  lost  its  tone  of  cruelty,  Julien  was 
ashamed  to  feel  tears  in  his  eyes.  He  was  desperately  anxious 
to  throw  himself  into  his  friend's  arms.  He  could  not  help 
saying  to  him  in  the  most  manly  manner  he  could  assume : 

"  I  was  hated  by  my  father  from  the  cradle  ;  it  was  one  of 
my  great  misfortunes,  but  I  shall  no  longer  complain  of  my 
luck,  I  have  found  another  father  in  you,  monsieur." 

"  That  is  good,  that  is  good,"  said  the  embarrassed  abbe, 
then  suddenly  remembering  quite  appropriately  a  seminary 
platitude  "  you  must  never  say  luck,  my  child,  always  say 
providence." 

The  fiacre  stopped.  The  coachman  lifted  up  the  bronze 
knocker  of  an  immense  door.  It  was  the  Hotel  de  la  Mole, 
and  to  prevent  the  passers  by  having  any  doubt  on  the  subject 
these  words  could  be  read  in  black  marble  over  the  door. 

This  affectation  displeased  Julien.  "  They  are  so  frightened 
of  the  Jacobins.  They  see  a  Robespierre  and  his  tumbril 
behind  every  head.  Their  panic  is  often  gloriously  grotesque 
and  they  advertise  their  house  like  this  so  that  in  the  event 
of  a  rising  the  rabble  can  recognise  it  and  loot  it."  He 
communicated  his  thought  to  the  abbe  Pirard. 

"  Yes,  poor  child,  you  will  soon  be  my  curate.  What  a 
dreadful  idea  you  have  got  into  your  head." 

"  Nothing  could  be  simpler,"  said  Julien. 

The  gravity  of  the  porter,  and  above  all,  the  cleanness  of  the 
the  court,  struck  him  with  admiration.  It  was  fine  sunshine. 
"  What  magnificent  architecture,"  he  said  to  his  friend.  The 
hotel  in  question  was  one  of  those  buildings  of  the  Faubourg 
Saint-Germain  with  a  flat  facade  built  about  the  time  of 
Voltaire's  death.  At  no  other  period  had  fashion  and  beauty 
been  so  far  from  one  another. 


CHAPTER  XXXII 

ENTRY    INTO    SOCIETY 

Ludicrous  and  pathetic  memory :  the  first  drawing-room  where 
one  appeared  alone  and  without  support  at  the  age  of  eighteen  ! 
the  look  of  a  woman  sufficed  to  intimidate  me.  The  more  I  wished 
to  please  the  more  clumsy  I  became.  I  evolved  the  most  unfounded 
ideas  about  everything.  I  would  either  abandon  myself  without 
any  reason,  or  I  would  regard  a  man  as  an  enemy  simply  because 
he  had  looked  at  me  with  a  serious  air  ;  but  all  the  same,  in  the 
middle  of  the  unhappiness  of  my  timidity,  how  beautiful  did  I  find 
a  beautiful  day — Kant. 

Julien  stopped  in  amazement  in  the  middle  of  the  courtyard. 
"  Pull  yourself  together,"  said  the  abbe  Pirard.  "  You  get 
horrible  ideas  into  your  head,  besides  you  are  only  a  child. ' 
What  has  happened  to  the  nil  mirari  of  Horace  (no  enthusiasm) 
remember  that  when  they  see  you  established  here  this  crowd 
of  lackeys  will  make  fun  of  you.  They  will  see  in  you  an  equal 
who  has  been  unjustly  placed  above  them ;  and,  under  a 
masquerade  of  good  advice  and  a  desire  to  help  you,  they 
will  try  to  make  you  fall  into  some  gross  blunder." 

"  Let  them  do  their  worst,"  said  Julien  biting  his  lip,  and 
he  became  as  distrustful  as  ever. 

The  salons  on  the  first  storey  which  our  gentlemen  went 
through  before  reaching  the  marquis'  study,  would  have  seemed 
to  you,  my  reader,  as  gloomy  as  they  were  magnificent.  If 
they  had  been  given  to  you  just  as  they  were,  you  would  have 
refused  to  live  in  them.  This  was  the  domain  of  yawning  and 
melancholy  reasoning.  They  redoubled  Julien's  rapture. 
"  How  can  any  one  be  unhappy  ?  "  he  thought,  "  who  lives  in  so 
splendid  an  abode." 

Finally  our  gentlemen  arrived  at  the  ugliest  rooms  in  this 
superb  suite.  There  was  scarcely  any  light.  They  found 
there  a  little  keen  man  with  a  lively  eye  and  a  blonde  wig. 


246       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

The  abbe  turned  round  to  Julien  and  presented  him.  It  was 
the  marquis.  Julien  had  much  difficulty  in  recognising  him, 
he  found  his  manner  was  so  polite.  It  was  no  longer  the  grand 
seigneur  with  that  haughty  manner  of  the  abbey  of  Bray-le-Haut. 
Julien  thought  that  his  wig  had  much  too  many  hairs.  As  the 
result  of  this  opinion  he  was  not  at  all  intimidated.  The 
descendant  of  the  friend  of  Henry  III.  seemed  to  him  at  first 
of  a  rather  insignificant  appearance.  He  was  extremely  thin 
and  very  restless,  but  he  soon  noticed  that  the  marquis  had  a 
politeness  which  was  even  more  pleasant  to  his  listener  than 
that  of  the  Bishop  of  Besancon  himself.  The  audience  only 
lasted  three  minutes.  As  they  went  out  the  abbe  said  to 
Julien, 

"  You  looked  at  the  marquis  just  as  you  would  have  looked 
at  a  picture.  I  am  not  a  great  expert  in  what  these  people 
here  call  politeness.  You  will  soon  know  more  about  it  than 
I  do,  but  really  the  boldness  of  your  looks  seemed  scarcely 
polite." 

They  had  got  back  into  the  fiacre.  The  driver  stopped 
near  the  boulevard ;  the  abbe  ushered  Julien  into  a  suite  of 
large  rooms.  Julien  noticed  that  there  was  no  furniture.  He 
was  looking  at  the  magnificent  gilded  clock  representing  a 
subject  which  he  thought  very  indecent,  when  a  very  elegant 
gentleman  approached  him  with  a  smiling  air.  Julien  bowed 
slightly. 

The  gentleman  smiled  and'  put  his  hand  on  his  shoulder. 
Julien  shuddered  and  leapt  back,  he  reddened  with  rage. 
The  abbe  Pirard,  in  spite  of  his  gravity,  laughed  till  the  tears 
came  into  his  eyes.     The  gentleman  was  a  tailor. 

"  I  give  you  your  liberty  for  two  days,"  said  the  abbe  as 
they  went  out.  You  cannot  be  introduced  before  then  to 
Madame  de  la  Mole.  Any  one  else  would  watch  over  you  as 
if  you  were  a  young  girl  during  these  first  few  moments  of 
your  life  in  this  new  Babylon.  Get  ruined  at  once  if  you 
have  got  to  be  ruined,  and  I  will  be  rid  of  my  own  weakness 
of  being  fond  of  you.  The  day  after  to-morrow  this  tailor 
will  bring  you  two  suits,  you  will  give  the  man  who  tries  them 
on  five  francs.  Apart  from  that  don't  let  these  Parisians  hear 
the  sound  of  your  voice.  If  you  say  a  word  they  will  manage 
somehow  to  make  fun  of  you.  They  have  a  talent  for  it. 
Come  and  see  me   the  dayafter  to-morrow  at  noon.  ...     Go 


ENTRY  INTO  SOCIETY  247 

and  ruin  yourself.  ...  I  was  forgetting,  go  and  order  boots 
and  a  hat  at  these  addresses." 

Julien  scrutinised  the  handwriting  of  the  addresses. 

"It's  the  marquis's  hand,"  said  the  abbe;  "he  is  an 
energetic  man  who  foresees  everything,  and  prefers  doing  to 
ordering.  He  is  taking  you  into  his  house,  so  that  you  may 
spare  him  that  kind  of  trouble.  Will  you  have  enough  brains 
to  execute  efficiently  all  the  instructions  which  he  will  give  you 
with  scarcely  a  word  of  explanation  ?  The  future  will  show, 
look  after  yourself." 

Julien  entered  the  shops  indicated  by  the  addresses  without 
saying  a  single  word.  He  observed  that  he  was  received  with 
respect,  and  that  the  bootmaker  as  he  wrote  his  name  down 
in  the  ledger  put  M.  de  Sorel. 

When  he  was  in  the  Cemetery  of  Pere  La  Chaise  a  very 
obliging  gentleman,  and  what  is  more,  one  who  was  Liberal  in 
his  views,  suggested  that  he  should  show  Julien  the  tomb  of 
Marshal  Ney  which  a  sagacious  statecraft  had  deprived  of  the 
honour  of  an  epitaph,  but  when  he  left  this  Liberal,  who  with 
tears  in  his  eyes  almost  clasped  him  in  his  arms,  Julien  was 
without  his  watch.  Enriched  by  this  experience  two  days 
afterwards  he  presented  himself  to  the  abbe  Pirard,  who  looked 
at  him  for  a  long  time. 

"  Perhaps  you  are  going  to  become  a  fop,"  said  the  abbe  to 
him  severely.  Julien  looked  like  a  very  young  man  in  full 
mourning ;  as  a  matter  of  fact,  he  looked  very  well,  but  the 
good  abbe  was  too  provincial  himself  to  see  that  Julien  still 
carried  his  shoulders  in  that  particular  way  which  signifies  in 
the  provinces  both  elegance  and  importance.  When  the 
marquis  saw  Julien  his  opinion  of  his  graces  differed  so 
radically  from  that  of  the  good  abbe  as  he  said, 

"  Would  you  have  any  objection  to  M.  le  Sorel  taking 
some  dancing  lessons  ?  " 

The  abbe  was  thunderstruck. 

"  No,"  he  answered  at  last.     "  Julien  is  not  a  priest." 

The  marquis  went  up  the  steps  of  a  little  secret  staircase 
two  at  a  time,  and  installed  our  hero  in  a  pretty  attic  which 
looked  out  on  the  big  garden  of  the  hotel.  He  asked  him 
how  many  shirts  he  had  got  at  the  linen  drapers. 

"Two,"  answered  Julien,  intimidated  at  seeing  so  great  a 
lord  condescend  to  such  details. 


248       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"  Very  good,"  replied  the  marquis  quite  seriously,  and  with 
a  certain  curt  imperiousness  which  gave  Julien  food  for  thought. 
"  Very  good,  get  twenty-two  more  shirts.  Here  are  your  first 
quarter's  wages." 

As  he  went  down  from  the  attic  the  marquis  called  an  old 
man.  "  Arsene,"  he  said  to  him,  "  you  will  serve  M.  Sorel." 
A  few  minutes  afterwards  Julien  found  himself  alone  in  a 
magnificent  library.  It  was  a  delicious  moment.  To  prevent 
his  emotion  being  discovered  he  went  and  hid  in  a  little  dark 
corner.  From  there  he  contemplated  with  rapture  the 
brilliant  backs  of  the  books.  "  I  shall  be  able  to  read  all 
these,"  he  said  to  himself.  "  How  can  I  fail  to  like  it  here  ? 
M.  de  Renal  would  have  thought  himself  dishonoured  for  ever 
by  doing  one-hundredth  part  of  what  the  Marquis  de  la  Mole 
has  just  done  for  me. 

"  But  let  me  have  a  look  at  the  copies  I  have  to  make. 
Having  finished  this  work  Julien  ventured  to  approach  the 
books.  He  almost  went  mad  with  joy  as  he  opened  an 
edition  of  Voltaire.  He  ran  and  opened  the  door  of  the 
library  to  avoid  being  surprised.  He  then  indulged  in  the 
luxury  of  opening  each  of  the  eighty  volumes.  They  were 
magnificently  bound  and  were  the  masterpiece  of  the  best 
binder  in  London.  It  was  even  more  than  was  required  to 
raise  Julien's  admiration  to  the  maximum. 

An  hour  afterwards  the  marquis  came  in  and  was  surprised 
to  notice  that  Julien  spelt  cela  with  two  "11"  cella.  "Is  all 
that  the  abbe  told  me  of  his  knowledge  simply  a  fairy  tale  ?  " 
The  marquis  was  greatly  discouraged  and  gently  said  to  him, 

"  You  are  not  sure  of  your  spelling  ?  " 

"  That  is  true,"  said  Julien  without  thinking  in  the  least  of 
the  injustice  that  he  was  doing  to  himself.  He  was  overcome 
by  the  kindness  of  the  marquis  which  recalled  to  him  through 
sheer  force  of  contrast  the  superciliousness  of  M.  de  Renal. 

"This  trial  of  the  little  Franc-comtois  abbe  is  waste  of 
time,"  thought  the  marquis,  "  but  I  had  such  great  need  of  a 
reliable  man." 

"You  spell  cela  with  one  '1,'"  said  the  marquis  to  him, 
"  and  when  you  have  finished  your  copies  look  the  words 
whose  spelling  you  are  not  sure  of  up  in  the  dictionary." 

The  marquis  sent  for  him  at  six  o'clock.  He  looked  at 
Julien's  boots  with  manifest  pain.     "  I  am  sorry  for  a  mistake 


ENTRY  INTO  SOCIETY  249 

1  made.  I  did  not  tell  you  that  you  must  dress  every  day  at 
half-past  five." 

Julien  looked  at  him  but  did  not  understand. 

11 1  mean  to  say  put  on  stockings.  Arsene  will  remind  you. 
To-day  I  will  make  your  apologies." 

As  he  finished  the  sentence  M.  de  la  Mole  escorted  Julien 
into  a  salon  resplendent  with  gilding.  On  similar  occasions 
M.  de  Renal  always  made  a  point  of  doubling  his  pace  so  as 
to  have  the  privilege  of  being  the  first  to  pass  the  threshold. 
His  former  employer's  petty  vanity  caused  Julien  to  tread  on 
the  marquis's  feet  and  hurt  him  a  great  deal  because  of  his 
gout.  "  So  he  is  clumsy  to  the  bargain,"  he  said  to  himself. 
He  presented  him  to  a  woman  of  high  stature  and  of  imposing 
appearance.  It  was  the  marquise.  Julien  thought  that  her 
manner  was  impertinent,  and  that  she  was  a  little  like  Madame 
de  Maugiron,  the  wife  of  the  sub-prefect  of  the  arrondissement 
of  Verrieres  when  she  was  present  at  the  Saint-Charles  dinner. 
Rendered  somewhat  nervous  by  the  extreme  magnificence  of 
the  salon  Julien  did  not  hear  what  M.  de  la  Mole  was  saying. 
The  marquise  scarcely  deigned  to  look  at  him.  There  were 
several  men  there,  among  whom  Julien  recognised  with  an 
inexpressible  pleasure  the  young  bishop  of  Agde  who  had 
deigned  to  speak  to  him  some  months  before  at  the  ceremony 
of  Bray-le-Haut.  This  young  prelate  was  doubtless  frightened 
by  the  tender  look  which  the  timidity  of  Julien  fixed  on  him, 
and  did  not  bother  to  recognise  "  the  provincial." 

The  men  assembled  in  this  salon  seemed  to  Julien  to  have 
a  certain  element  of  gloom  and  constraint.  Conversation 
takes  place  in  a  low  voice  in  Paris  and  little  details  are  not 
exaggerated. 

A  handsome  young  man  with  moustaches,  came  in  about 
half-past  six.     He  was  very  pale,  and  had  a  very  small  head. 

"You  always  keep  us  waiting"  said  the  marquise,  as  he 
kissed  her  hand. 

Julien  realised  that  it  was  the  Count  de  la  Mole.  From 
the  very  first  he  thought  he  was  charming. 

"  Is  it  possible,"  he  said  to  himself  "  that  this  is  the  man 
whose  offensive  jests  are  going  to  drive  me  out  of  the  house." 

As  the  result  of  scrutinising  count  Norbert,  Julien  noticed 
that  he  was  in  boots  and  spurs.  "  And  I  have  got  to  be  in 
shoes   iust  like  an  inferior   apparently."     They  sat  down   at 


250       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

table,  Julien  heard  the  marquise  raising  her  voice  a  little  and 
saying  something  severe.  Almost  simultaneously  he  noticed 
an  extremely  blonde  and  very  well  developed  young  person 
who  had  just  sat  down  opposite  him.  Nevertheless  she  made 
no  appeal  to  him.  Looking  at  her  attentively  he  thought 
that  he  had  never  seen  such  beautiful  eyes,  although  they 
betokened  a  great  coldness  of  soul.  Subsequently  Julien 
thought  that,  though  they  looked  bored  and  sceptical,  they 
were  conscious  of  the  duty  of  being  impressive.  "  Madame 
de  Renal  of  course  had  very  fine  eyes  "  he  said  to  himself,  "  she 
used  to  be  universally  complimented  on  them,  but  they  had 
nothing  in  common  with  these."  Julien  did  not  know  enough 
of  society  to  appreciate  that  it  was  the  fire  of  repartee  which 
from  time  to  time  gave  their  brilliancy  to  the  eyes  of 
Mademoiselle  Mathilde  (for  that  was  the  name  he  heard  her 
called  by).  When  Madame-de  Renal's  eyes  became  animated, 
it  was  with  the  fire  of  passion,  or  as  the  result  of  a  generous 
indignation  on  hearing  of  some  evil  deed.  Towards  the  end 
of  the  meal  Julien  found  a  word  to  express  Mademoiselle  de 
la  Mole's  type  of  beauty.  Her  eyes  are  scintillating,  he  said  to 
himself.  Apart  from  her  eyes  she  was  cruelly  like  her  mother, 
whom  he  liked  less  and  less,  and  he  ceased  looking  at  her. 
By  way  of  compensation  he  thought  Count  Norbert  admirable 
in  every  respect.  Julien  was  so  fascinated  that  the  idea  never 
occurred  to  him  of  being  jealous,  and  hating  him  because  he 
was  richer  and  of  nobler  birth  than  he  was  himself. 

Julien  thought  that  the  marquis  looked  bored. 

About  the  second  course  he  said  to  his  son  :  "  Norbert,  I 
ask  all  your  good  offices  for  M.  Julien  Sorel,  whom  I  have 
just  taken  into  my  staff  and  of  whom  I  hope  to  make  a  man 
si  cella  se  pent." 

"  He  is  my  secretary,"  said  the  marquis  to  his  neighbour, 
"  and  he  spells  cela  with  two  ll's."  Everybody  looked  at  Julien, 
who  bowed  to  Norbert  in  a  manner  that  was  slightly  too 
marked,  but  speaking  generally  they  were  satisfied  with  his 
expression. 

The  marquis  must  have  spoken  about  the  kind  of  education 
which  Julien  had  received  for  one  of  the  guests  tackled  him  on 
Horace.  "It  was  just  by  talking  about  Horace  that  I 
succeeded  with  the  bishop  of  Besancon,"  said  Julien  to 
himself.      Apparently   that   is   the   only  author   they   know. 


ENTRY  INTO  SOCIETY  251 

From  that  instant  he  was  master  of  himself,  This  transition 
was  rendered  easy  because  he  had  just  decided  that  he  would 
never  look  upon  Madamoiselle  de  la  Mole  as  a  woman  after 
his  own  taste.  Since  the  seminary  he  had  the  lowest  opinion 
of  men,  and  was  not  to  be  easily  intimidated  by  them.  He 
would  have  enjoyed  all  his  self-possession  if  the  dining-room 
had  been  furnished  with  less  magnificence.  It  was,  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  two  mirrors  each  eight  feet  high  in  which  he  would 
look  from  time  to  time  at  the  man  who  was  speaking  to  him 
about  Horace,  which  continued  to  impress  him.  His  phrases 
were  not  too  long  for  a  provincial,  he  had  fine  eyes  whose 
brilliancy  was  doubled  by  his  quavering  timidity,  or  by  his 
happy  bashfulness  when  he  had  given  a  good  answer.  They 
found  him  pleasant.  This  kind  of  examination  gave  a  little 
interest  to  a  solemn  dinner.  The  marquis  signed  to  Julien's 
questioner  to  press  him  sharply.  "  Can  he  possibly  know 
something  ?  "  he  thought. 

Julien  answered  and  thought  out  new  ideas.  He  lost 
sufficient  of  his  nervousness,  not  indeed  to  exhibit  any  wit,  for 
that  is  impossible  for  any  one  ignorant  of  the  special  language 
which  is  used  in  Paris,  but  to  show  himself  possessed  of  ideas 
which,  though  presented  out  of  place  and  ungracefully,  were 
yet  original.     They  saw  that  he  knew  Latin  perfectly. 

Julien's  adversary  was  a  member  of  the  Academy  Inscriptions 
who  chanced  to  know  Latin.  He  found  Julien  a  very  good 
humanist,  was  not  frightened  of  making  him  feel  uncomfortable, 
and  really  tried  to  embarrass  him.  In  the  heat  of  the  con- 
troversy Julien  eventually  forgot  the  magnificent  furniture  of 
the  dining-room.  He  managed  to  expound  theories  con- 
cerning the  Latin  poets  which  his  questioner  had  never  read 
of  anywhere.  Like  an  honest  man,  he  gave  the  young 
secretary  all  due  credit  for  them.  As  luck  would  have  it, 
they  started  a  discussion  on  the  question  of  whether  Horace 
was  poor  or  rich,  a  good  humoured  and  careless  voluptuary 
who  made  verses  to  amuse  himself,  like  Chapelle  the  friend  of 
Moliere  and  de  la  Fontaine,  or  a  poor  devil  of  a  poet  laureate 
who  wrote  odes  for  the  king's  birthday  like  Southey,  the 
accuser  of  Lord  Byron.  They  talked  about  the  state  of  society 
under  Augustus  and  under  George  IV.  At  both  periods  the 
aristocracy  was  all-powerful,  but,  while  at  Rome  it  was  despoiled 
of  its  power  by  Maecenas  who  was  only  a  simple  knight,  it  had 


252       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

in  England  reduced  George  IV  practically  to  the  position  of 
a  Venetian  doge.  This  discussion  seemed  to  lift  the  marquis 
out  of  that  state  of  bored  torpor  in  which  he  had  been  plunged 
at  the  beginning  of  the  dinner. 

Julien  found  meaningless  such  modern  names  as  Southey, 
Lord  Byron,  and  George  IV,  which  he  now  heard  pronounced 
for  the  first  time.  But  every  one  noticed  that  whenever  the 
conversation  dealt  with  events  that  had  taken  place  in  Rome 
and  about  which  knowledge  could  be  obtained  by  a  perusal 
of  the  works  of  Horace,  Martial  or  Tacitus,  etc.,  he  showed  an 
indisputable  superiority.  Julien  coolly  appropriated  several 
ideas  which  he  had  learnt  from  the  bishop  of  Besan^on  in  the 
historic  conversation  which  he  had  had  with  that  prelate. 
These  ideas  were  not  the  least  appreciated. 

When  every  one  was  tired  of  talking  about  poets  the 
marquise,  who  always  made  it  a  rule  to  admire  whatever 
amused  her  husband,  deigned  to  look  at  Julien.  "  Perhaps 
an  educated  man  lies  hid  beneath  the  clumsy  manners  of  this 
young  abbe,"  said  the  Academician  who  happened  to  be  near 
the  marquise.  Julien  caught  a  few  words  of  what  he  said. 
Ready-made  phrases  suited  the  intellect  of  the  mistress  of  the 
house  quite  well.  She  adopted  this  one  about  Julien,  and 
was  very  pleased  with  herself  for  having  invited  the  academician 
to  dinner.     "  He  has  amused  M.  de  la  Mole  "  she  thought. 


CHAPTER  XXXIII 


THE    FIRST   STEPS 


This  immense  valley,  filled  with  brilliant  lights  and  so 
many  thousands  of  men  dazzles  my  sight.  No  one 
knows  me.  All  are  superior  to  me.  I  lose  my  head. 
Poemi  deW  av.  RE  IN  A. 

Julien  was  copying  letters  in  the  library  very  early  the  next 
day  when  Mademoiselle  Mathilde  came  in  by  a  little  dummy 
door  very  well  masked  by  the  backs  of  the  books.  While 
Julien  was  admiring  the  device,  Mademoiselle  Mathilde  seemed 
astonished  and  somewhat  annoyed  at  finding  him  there : 
Julien  saw  that  she  was  in  curl- papers  and  had  a  hard,  haughty, 
and  masculine  expression.  Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  had  the 
habit  of  surreptitiously  stealing  books  from  her  father's  library. 
Julien's  presence  rendered  this  morning's  journey  abortive,  a 
fact  which  annoyed  her  all  the  more  as  she  had  come  to  fetch 
the  second  volume  of  Voltaire's  Princess  of  Babylon^  a  worthy 
climax  to  one  of  the  most  eminently  monarchical  and  religious 
educations  which  the  convent  of  the  Sacred  Heart  had  ever 
provided.  This  poor  girl  of  nineteen  already  required  some 
element  of  spiciness  in  order  to  get  up  an  interest  in  a  novel. 

Count  Norbert  put  in  an  appearance  in  the  library  about 
three  o'clock.  He  had  come  to  study  a  paper  so  as  to  be 
able  to  talk  politics  in  the  evening,  and  was  very  glad  to  meet 
Julien,  whose  existence  he  had  forgotten.  He  was  charming, 
and  offered  him  a  ride  on  horseback. 

"  My  father  will  excuse  us  until  dinner." 

Julien  appreciated  the  us  and  thought  it  charming. 

"  Great  heavens !  M.  le  Comte,"  said  Julien,  "  if  it  were  a 
question  of  felling  an  eighty-foot  tree  or  hewing  it  out  and 
making   it  into   planks    I  would   acquit   myself  all   right,   I 


254       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

daresay,  but  as  for  riding  a  horse,  I  haven't  done  such  a  thing 
six  times  in  my  life." 

"  Well,  this  will  be  the  seventh,"  said  Norbert. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  Julien  remembered  the  king  of 's 

entry  into  Verrieres,  and  thought  he  rode  extremely  well. 
But  as  they  were  returning  from  the  Bois  de  Boulogne  he  fell 
right  in  the  middle  of  the  Rue  du  Bac,  as  he  suddenly  tried  to 
get  out  of  the  way  of  a  cabriolet,  and  was  spattered  all  over  with 
mud.  It  was  lucky  that  he  had  two  suits.  The  marquis,  wishing 
to  favour  him  with  a  few  words  at  dinner,  asked  him  for  news 
of  his  excursion.  Norbert  began  immediately  to  answer  him  in 
general  terms. 

"  M.  le  Comte  is  extremely  kind  to  me,"  answered  Julien. 
"  I  thank  him  for  it,  and  I  fully  appreciate  it.  He  was  good 
enough  to  have  the  quietest  and  prettiest  horse  given  to  me, 
but  after  all  he  could  not  tie  me  on  to  it,  and  owing  to  the 
lack  of  that  precaution,  I  had  a  fall  right  in  the  middle  of  that 
long  street  near  the  bridge.  Madame  Mathilde  made  a  futile 
effort  to  hide  a  burst  of  laughter,  and  subsequently  was 
indiscreet  enough  to  ask  for  details.  Julien  acquitted  himself 
with  much  simplicity.     He  had  grace  without  knowing  it. 

u  I  prophesy  favourably  about  that  little  priest,"  said  the 
marquis  to  the  academician.  "Think  of  a  provincial  being 
simple  over  a  matter  like  that.  Such  a  thing  has  never  been 
witnessed  before,  and  will  never  be  witnessed  again;  and 
what  is  more,  he  describes  his  misfortune  before  ladies." 

Julien  put  his  listeners  so  thoroughly  at  their  ease  over  his 
misfortune  that  at  the  end  of  the  dinner,  when  the  general 
conversation  had  gone  off  on  to  another  subject,  Mademoiselle 
Mathilde  asked  her  brother  some  questions  over  the  details  of 
the  unfortunate  occurrence.  As  she  put  numerous  questions, 
and  as  Julien  met  her  eyes  several  times,  he  ventured  to 
answer  himself,  although  the  questions  had  not  been  addressed 
to  him,  and  all  three  of  them  finished  up  by  laughing  just  as 
though  they  had  all  been  inhabitants  of  some  village  in  the 
depths  of  a  forest. 

On  the  following  day  Julien  attended  two  theology  lectures, 
and  then  came  back  to  copy  out  about  twenty  letters.  He 
found  a  young  man,  who  though  very  carefully  dressed,  had  a 
mean  appearance  and  an  envious  expression,  established  near 
him  in  the  library. 


THE  FIRST  STEPS  255 

The  marquis  entered,  "What  are  you  doing  here,  M. 
Tanbeau  ?  "  he  said  severely  to  the  new-comer. 

"  I  thought — "  answered  the  young  man,  with  a  base  smile. 

"  No,  monsieur,  you  thought  nothing  of  the  kind.  This  is 
a  try-on,  but  it  is  an  unfortunate  one." 

Young  Tanbeau  got  up  in  a  rage  and  disappeared.  He 
was  a  nephew  of  the  academician  who  was  a  friend  of  Madame 
de  la  Mole,  and  intended  to  take  up  the  profession  of  letters. 
The  academician  had  induced  the  marquis  to  take  him  as  a 
secretary.  Tanbeau  used  to  work  in  a  separate  room,  but 
having  heard  of  the  favour  that  was  vouchsafed  to  Julien  he 
wished  to  share  it,  and  he  had  gone  this  morning  and 
established  his  desk  in  the  library. 

At  four  o'clock  Julien  ventured,  after  a  little  hesitation,  to 
present  himself  to  Count  Norbert.  The  latter  was  on  the 
point  of  going  riding,  and  being  a  man  of  perfect  politeness 
felt  embarrassed. 

"  I  think,"  he  said  to  Julien,  "  that  you  had  better  go  to  the 
riding  school,  and  after  a  few  weeks,  I  shall  be  charmed  to 
ride  with  you." 

"  I  should  like  to  have  the  honour  of  thanking  you  for  the 
kindness  which  you  have  shewn  me.  Believe  me,  monsieur," 
added  Julien  very  seriously,  "  that  I  appreciate  all  I  owe  you. 
If  your  horse  has  not  been  hurt  by  the  reason  of  my  clumsiness 
of  yesterday,  and  if  it  is  free  I  should  like  to  ride  it  this 
afternoon." 

"  Well,  upon  my  word,  my  dear  Sorel,  you  do  so  at  your 
own  risk  and  peril ;  kindly  assume  that  I  have  put  forth  all 
the  objections  required  by  prudence.  As  a  matter  of  fact  it  is 
four  o'clock,  we  have  no  time  to  lose." 

As  soon  as  Julien  was  on  horseback,  he  said  to  the  young 
count,  "What  must  one  do  not  to  fall  off?" 

"  Lots  of  things,"  answered  Norbert,  bursting  into  laughter. 
"  Keep  your  body  back  for  instance." 

Julien  put  his  horse  to  the  trot.  They  were  at  the  Place 
Louis  XVI. 

"  Oh,  you  foolhardy  youngster,"  said  Norbert  "  there  are  too 
many  carriages  here,  and  they  are  driven  by  careless  drivers 
into  the  bargain.  Once  you  are  on  the  ground  their  tilburies 
will  run  over  your  body,  they  will  not  risk  spoiling  their  horses' 
mouths  by  pulling  up  short." 


256       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Norbert  saw  Julien  twenty  times  on  the  point  of  tumbling, 
but  in  the  end  the  excursion  finished  without  misadventure. 
As  they  came  back  the  young  count  said  to  his  sister, 

"  Allow  me  to  introduce  a  dashing  dare-devil." 

When  he  talked  to  his  father  over  the  dinner  from  one  end 
of  the  table  to  the  other,  he  did  justice  to  Julien's  courage. 
It  was  the  only  thing  one  could  possibly  praise  about  his  style  of 
riding.  The  young  count  had  heard  in  the  morning  the  men 
who  groomed  the  horses  in  the  courtyard  making  Julien's  fall 
an  opportunity  for  the  most  outrageous  jokes  at  his  expense. 

In  spite  of  so  much  kindness  Julien  soon  felt  himself 
completely  isolated  in  this  family.  All  their  customs  seemed 
strange  to  him,  and  he  was  cognizant  of  none  of  them.  His 
blunders  were  the  delight  of  the  valets. 

The  abbe  Pirard  had  left  for  his  living.  "  If  Julien  is  a 
weak  reed,  let  him  perish.  If  he  is  a  man  of  spirit,  let  him 
get  out  of  his  difficulties  all  alone,"  he  thought. 


CHAPTER  XXXIV 

THE    HOTEL    DE    LA    MOLE 

What  is  he  doing  here?     Will  he  like  it  there?     Will  he  try 
to  please? — Ronsard. 

If  everything  in  the  aristocratic  salon  of  the  Hotel  de  la 
Mole  seemed  strange  to  Julien,  that  pale  young  man  in  his 
black  suit  seemed  in  his  turn  very  strange  to  those  persons 
who  deigned  to  notice  him.  Madame  de  la  Mole  suggested  to 
her  husband  that  he  should  send  him  off  on  some  business  on 
those  days  when  they  had  certain  persons  to  dinner. 

"  I  wish  to  carry  the  experiment  to  its  logical  conclusion," 
answered  the  marquis.  "  The  abbe  Pirard  contends  that  we 
are  wrong  in  crushing  the  self-respect  of  the  people  whom  we 
allow  around  us.  One  can  only  lean  on  what  resists.  The 
only  thing  against  this  man  is  his  unknown  face,  apart  from 
that  he  is  a  deaf  mute." 

"  If  I  am  to  know  my  way  about,"  said  Julien  to  himself. 
"  I  must  write  down  the  names  of  the  persons  whom  I  see  come 
to  the  salon  together  with  a  few  words  on  their  character." 

He  put  at  the  head  of  the  list  five  or  six  friends  of  the 
house  who  took  every  opportunity  of  paying  court  to  him, 
believing  that  he  was  protected  by  a  whim  of  the  marquis. 
They  were  poor  dull  devils.  But  it  must  be  said  in  praise  of 
this  class  of  men,  such  as  they  are  found  to-day  in  the  salons 
of  the  aristocracy,  that  every  one  did  not  find  them  equally 
tame.  One  of  them  was  now  allowing  himself  to  be  bullied  by 
the  marquis,  who  was  venting  his  irritation  at  a  harsh  remark 
which  had  been  addressed  to  him  by  the  marquise. 

The  masters  of  the  house  were  too  proud  or  too  prone  to 
boredom ;  they  were  too  much  used  to  finding  their  only 
distraction  in  the  addressing  of  insults,  to  enable  them  to 
expect  true  friends.     But,  except  on  rainy  days  and  in  rare 

17 


258       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

moments  of  savage  boredom,  they  always  showed  themselves 
perfectly  polite. 

If  the  five  or  six  toadies  who  manifested  so  paternal  an 
affection  towards  Julien  had  deserted  the  Hotel  de  la  Mole, 
the  marquise  would  have  been  exposed  to  long  spells  of  solitude, 
and  in  the  eyes  of  women  of  that  class,  solitude  is  awful,  it  is 
the  symbol  of  disgrace. 

The  marquis  was  charming  to  his  wife.  He  saw  that  her 
salon  was  sufficiently  furnished,  though  not  with  peers,  for  he 
did  not  think  his  new  colleagues  were  sufficiently  noble  to 
come  to  his  house  as  friends,  or  sufficiently  amusing  to  be 
admitted  as  inferiors. 

It  was  only  later  that  Julien  fathomed  these  secrets.  The 
governing  policy  of  a  household,  though  it  forms  the  staple 
of  conversation  in  bourgeois  families,  is  only  alluded  to  in 
families  of  the  class  of  that  of  the  marquis  in  moments  of 
distress.  So  paramount  even  in  this  bored  century  is  the 
necessity  of  amusing  ones  self,  that  even  on  the  days  of  dinner- 
parties the  marquis  had  scarcely  left  the  salon  before  all  the 
guests  ran  away.  Provided  that  one  did  not  make  any  jests 
about  either  God  or  the  priests  or  the  king  or  the  persons  in 
office,  or  the  artists  who  enjoyed  the  favour  of  the  court,  or 
of  anything  that  was  established,  provided  that  one  did  not 
praise  either  Beranger  or  the  opposition  papers,  or  Voltaire  or 
Rousseau  or  anything  which  involved  any  element  of  free 
speech,  provided  that  above  all  that  one  never  talked  politics, 
one  could  discuss  everything  with  freedom. 

There  is  no  income  of  a  hundred  thousand  crowns  a  year 
and  no  blue  ribbon  which  could  sustain  a  contest  against  such 
a  code  of  salon  etiquette. 

The  slightest  live  idea  appeared  a  crudity.  In  spite  of  the 
prevailing  good  form,  perfect  politeness,  and  desire  to  please, 
ennui  was  visible  in  every  face.  The  young  people  who  came 
to  pay  their  calls  were  frightened  of  speaking  of  anything  which 
might  make  them  suspected  of  thinking  or  of  betraying  that 
they  had  read  something  prohibited,  and  relapsed  into  silence 
after  a  few  elegant  phrases  about  Rossini  and  the  weather. 

Julien  noticed  that  the  conversation  was  usually  kept  alive 
by  two  viscounts  and  five  barons  whom  M.  de  la  Mole  had 
known  at  the  time  of  the  emigration.  These  gentlemen 
enjoyed  an  income  of  from  six  to  eight   hundred   thousand 


THE  HOTEL  DE  LA  MOLE  259 

francs.  Four  swore  by  the  Quotidienne  and  three  by  the  Gazette 
de  France.  One  of  them  had  every  day  some  anecdote  to  tell 
about  the  Chateau,  in  which  he  made  lavish  use  of  the  word 
admirable.  Julien  noticed  that  he  had  five  crosses,  the  others 
as  a  rule  only  had  three. 

By  way  of  compensation  six  footmen  in  livery  were  to  be 
seen  in  the  ante-room,  and  during  the  whole  evening  ices  or 
tea  were  served  every  quarter-of-an-hour,  while  about  midnight 
there  was  a  kind  of  supper  with  champagne. 

This  was  the  reason  that  sometimes  induced  Julien  to  stay 
till  the  end.  Apart  from  this  he  could  scarcely  understand 
why  any  one  could  bring  himself  to  take  seriously  the  ordinary 
conversation  in  this  magnificently  gilded  salon.  Sometimes  he 
would  look  at  the  talkers  to  see  if  they  themselves  were  not 
making  fun  of  what  they  were  saying.  "  My  M.  de  Maistre, 
whom  I  know  by  heart,"  he  thought,  "has  put  it  a  hundred 
times  better,  and  all  the  same  he  is  pretty  boring," 

Julien  was  not  the  only  one  to  appreciate  this  stifling  moral 
atmosphere.  Some  consoled  themselves  by  taking  a  great 
quantity  of  ices,  others  by  the  pleasure  of  saying  all  the  rest 
of  the  evening,  "  I  have  just  come  from  the  Hotel  de  la  Mole 
where  I  learnt  that  Russia,  etc." 

Julien  learnt  from  one  of  the  toadies  that  scarcely  six  months 
ago  madame  de  la  Mole  had  rewarded  more  than  twenty 
years  of  assiduous  attention  by  promoting  the  poor  baron  Le 
Bourguignon,  who  had  been  a  sub-prefect  since  the  restoration, 
to  the  rank  of  prefect. 

This  great  event  had  whetted  the  zeal  of  all  these  gentlemen. 
Previously  there  were  few  things  to  which  they  would  have 
objected,  now  they  objected  to  nothing.  There  was  rarely 
any  overt  lack  of  consideration,  but  Julien  had  already  caught 
at  meals  two  or  three  little  short  dialogues  between  the 
marquis  and  his  wife  which  were  cruel  to  those  who  were 
seated  near  them.  These  noble  personages  did  not  conceal 
their  sincere  contempt  for  everyone  who  was  not  sprung  from 
people  who  were  entitled  to  ride  in  the  carriages  of  the  king. 
Julien  noticed  that  the  word  crusade  was  the  only  word  which 
gave  their  face  an  expression  of  deep  seriousness  akin  to  respect. 
Their  ordinary  respect  had  always  a  touch  of  condescension. 
In  the  middle  of  this  magnificence  and  this  boredom  Julien  was 
interested  in  nothing  except  M.  de  la  Mole.     He  was  delighted 


260       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

to  hear  him  protest  one  day  that  he  had  had  nothing  to  do 
with  the  promotion  of  that  poor  Le  Bourguignon,  it  was  an 
attention  to  the  marquise.  Julien  knew  the  truth  from  the 
abbe  Pirard. 

The  abbe  was  working  in  the  marquis's  library  with  Julien 
one  morning  at  the  eternal  de  Frilair  lawsuit. 

"  Monsieur,"  said  Julien  suddenly,  "  is  dining  every  day 
with  madame  la  marquise  one  of  my  duties  or  a  special 
favour  that  they  show  to  me  ?" 

"  It's  a  special  honour,"  replied  the  scandalised  abbe.  "  M. 
the  Academician,  who  has  been  cultivating  the  family  for  fifteen 
years,  has  never  been  able  to  obtain  so  much  for  his  M. 
Tanbeau." 

"  I  find  it,  sir,  the  most  painful  part  of  my  employment. 
I  was  less  bored  at  the  seminary.  Some  times  I  see  even 
mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  yawn,  and  yet  she  ought  to  be 
accustomed  to  the  social  charms  of  the  friends  of  the  house. 
I  am  frightened  of  falling  asleep.  As  a  favour,  obtain 
permission  for  me  to  go  and  get  a  forty  sous'  dinner  in  some 
obscure  inn." 

The  abbe  who  was  a  true  snob,  was  very  appreciative  of  the 
honour  of  dining  with  a  great  lord.  While  he  was  endeavour- 
ing to  get  Julien  to  understand  this  point  of  view  a  slight  noise 
made  them  turn  round.  Julien  saw  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole 
listening.  He  reddened.  She  had  come  to  fetch  a  book  and 
had  heard  everything.  She  began  to  entertain  some  respect 
for  Julien.  "  He  has  not  been  born  servile,"  she  thought, 
"  like  that  old  abbe.     Heavens,  how  ugly  he  is." 

At  dinner  Julien  did  not  venture  to  look  at  mademoiselle  de 
la  Mole  but  she  was  kind  enough  to  speak  to  him.  They 
were  expecting  a  lot  of  visitors  that  day  and  she  asked  him  to 
stay.  The  young  girls  of  Paris  are  not  at  all  fond  of  persons 
of  a  certain  age,  especially  when  they  are  slovenly.  Julien  did 
not  need  much  penetration  to  realise  that  the  colleagues  of  M. 
le  Bourguignon  who  remained  in  the  salon  had  the  privilege 
of  being  the  ordinary  butt  of  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's  jokes. 
On  this  particular  day,  whether  or  not  by  reason  of  some 
affectation  on  her  part,  she  proved  cruel  to  bores. 

Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  was  the  centre  of  a  little  knot 
which  used  to  form  nearly  every  evening  behind  the  marquise's 
immense   arm-chair.      There   were    to   be  found    there   the 


THE  HOTEL  DE  LA  MOLE  261 

marquis  de  Croisenois,  the  comte  de  Caylus,  the  vicomte  de 
Luz  and  two  or  three  other  young  officers,  the  friends  of 
Norbert  or  his  sister.  These  gentlemen  used  to  sit  down  on  a 
large  blue  sofa.  At  the  end  of  the  sofa,  opposite  the  part 
where  the  brilliant  Mathilde  was  sitting,  Julien  sat  in  silence 
on  a  little,  rather  low  straw  chair.  This  modest  position  was 
envied  by  all  the  toadies ;  Norbert  kept  his  father's  young 
secretary  in  countenance  by  speaking  to  him,  or  mentioning 
him  by  name  once  or  twice  in  the  evening.  On  this  particular 
occasion  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  asked  him  what  was  the 
height  of  the  mountain  on  which  the  citadel  of  Besancon  is 
planted.  Julien  had  never  any  idea  if  this  mountain  was  higher 
or  lower  than  Montmartre.  He  often  laughed  heartily  at  what 
was  said  in  this  little  knot,  but  he  felt  himself  incapable  of 
inventing  anything  analagous.  It  was  like  a  strange  language 
which  he  understood  but  could  not  speak. 

On  this  particular  day  Matilde's  friends  manifested  a  con- 
tinuous hostility  to  the  visitors  who  came  into  the  vast  salon. 
The  friends  of  the  house  were  the  favoured  victims  at  first, 
inasmuch  as  they  were  better  known.  You  can  form  your 
opinion  as  to  whether  Julien  paid  attention ;  everything 
interested  him,  both  the  substance  of  things  and  the  manner 
of  making  fun  of  them. 

"And  there  is  M.  Descoulis,"  said  Matilde;  "he  doesn't 
wear  a  wig  any  more.  Does  he  want  to  get  a  prefectship 
through  sheer  force  of  genius?  He  is  displaying  that  bald 
forehead  which  he  says  is  filled  with  lofty  thoughts." 

"  He  is  a  man  who  knows  the  whole  world,"  said  the 
marquis  de  Croisenois.  "  He  also  goes  to  my  uncle  the 
cardinal's.  He  is  capable  of  cultivating  a  falsehood  with  each 
of  his  friends  for  years  on  end,  and  he  has  two  or  three 
hundred  friends.  He  knows  how  to  nurse  friendship,  that  is 
his  talent.  He  will  go  out,  just  as  you  see  him,  in  the  worst 
winter  weather,  and  be  at  the  door  of  one  of  his  friends  by 
seven  o'clock  in  the  morning. 

"  He  quarrels  from  time  to  time  and  he  writes  seven  or  eight 
letters  for  each  quarrel.  Then  he  has  a  reconciliation  and  he 
writes  seven  or  eight  letters  to  express  his  bursts  of  friendship. 
But  he  shines  most  brilliantly  in  the  frank  and  sincere 
expansiveness  of  the  honest  man  who  keeps  nothing  up  his 
sleeve.      This    manoeuvre  is  brought  into  play  when  he  has 


262       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

some  favour  to  ask.  One  of  my  uncle's  grand  vicars  is  very 
good  at  telling  the  life  of  M.  Descoulis  since  the  restoration. 
I  will  bring  him  to  you." 

"  Bah !  I  don't  believe  all  that,  it's  professional  jealousy 
among  the  lower  classes."  said  the  comte  de  Caylus. 

"  M.  Descoulis  will  live  in  history,"  replied  the  marquis. 
"  He  brought  about  the  restoration  together  with  the  abbe  de 
Pradt  and  messieurs  de  Talleyrand  and  Pozzo  di  Borgo." 

"That  man  has  handled  millions,"  said  Norbert,  "and  I 
can't  conceive  why  he  should  come  here  to  swallow  my 
father's  epigrams  which  are  frequently  atrocious.  '  How  many 
times  have  you  betrayed  your  friends,  my  dear  Descoulis?' 
he  shouted  at  him  one  day  from  one  end  of  the  table  to  the 
other." 

"But  is  it  true  that  he  has  played  the  traitor?"  asked 
mademoiselle  de  la  Mole.  "  Who  has  not  played  the 
traitor  ? " 

"  Why ! "  said  the  comte  de  Caylus  to  Norbert,  "  do  you 
have  that  celebrated  Liberal,  M.  Sainclair,  in  your  house. 
What  the  devil's  he  come  here  for  ?  I  must  go  up  to  him  and 
speak  to  him  and  make  him  speak.  He  is  said  to  be  so 
clever." 

"  But  how  will  your  mother  receive  him  ? "  said  M.  de 
Croisenois.  "  He  has  such  extravagant,  generous  and  in- 
dependent ideas." 

"Look,"  said  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole,  "look  at  the  in- 
dependent man  who  bows  down  to  the  ground  to  M.  Descoulis 
while  he  grabs  hold  of  his  hand.  I  almost  thought  he  was 
going  to  put  it  to  his  lips." 

"  Descoulis  must  stand  better  with  the  powers  that  be  than 
we  thought,"  answered  M.  de  Croisenois. 

"Sainclair  comes  here  in  order  to  get  into  the  academy," 

said  Norbert.      "  See   how   he   bows   to   the   baron    L , 

Croisenois." 

"  It  would  be  less  base  to  kneel  down,"  replied  M.  de  Luz. 

"  My  dear  Sorel,"  said  Norbert,  "  you  are  extremely  smart, 
but  you  come  from  the  mountains.  Mind  you  never  bow  like 
that  great  poet  is  doing,  even  to  God  the  Father." 

"Ah  there's  a  really  witty  man,  M.  the  Baron  Baton,"  said 
mademoiselle  de  la  Mole,  imitating  a  little  the  voice  of  the 
flunkey  who  had  just  announced  him. 


THE  HOTEL  DE  LA  MOLE  263 

"  I  think  that  even  your  servants  make  fun  of  him.  What 
a  name  Baron  Baton,"  said  M.  de  Caylus. 

"  What's  in  a  name  ?  "  he  said  to  us  the  other  day,  went  on 
Matilde.  "  Imagine  the  Duke  de  Bouillon  announced  for 
the  first  time.  So  far  as  I  am  concerned  the  public  only  need 
to  get  used  to  me." 

"  Julien  left  the  vicinity  of  the  sofa." 

Still  insufficiently  appreciative  of  the  charming  subtleties  of 
a  delicate  raillery  to  laugh  at  a  joke,  he  considered  that  a  jest 
ought  to  have  some  logical  foundation.  He  saw  nothing  in 
these  young  peoples'  conversation  except  a  vein  of  universal 
scandal-mongering  and  was  shocked  by  it.  His  provincial 
or  English  prudery  went  so  far  as  to  detect  envy  in  it,  though 
in  this  he  was  certainly  mistaken. 

"Count  Norbert,"  he  said  to  himself,  "who  has  had  to 
make  three  drafts  for  a  twenty-line  letter  to  his  colonel  would 
be  only  too  glad  to  have  written  once  in  his  whole  life  one 
page  as  good  as  M.  Sainclair." 

Julien  approached  successively  the  several  groups  and 
attracted  no  attention  by  reason  of  his  lack  of  importance. 
He  followed  the  Baron  Baton  from  a  distance  and  tried  to 
hear  him. 

This  witty  man  appeared  nervous  and  Julien  did  not  see 
him  recover  his  equanimity  before  he  had  hit  upon  three  or 
four  stinging  phrases.  Julien  thought  that  this  kind  of  wit 
had  great  need  of  space. 

The  Baron  could  not  make  epigrams.  He  needed  at  least 
four  sentences  of  six  lines  each,  in  order  to  be  brilliant. 

"That  man  argues,  he  does  not  talk,"  said  someone  behind 
Julien.  He  turned  round  and  reddened  with  pleasure  when 
he  heard  the  name  of  the  comte  Chalvet.  He  was  the  subtlest 
man  of  the  century.  Julien  had  often  found  his  name  in  the 
Memorial  of  St.  Helena  and  in  the  portions  of  history  dictated 
by  Napoleon.  The  diction  of  comte  Chalvet  was  laconic, 
his  phrases  were  flashes  of  lightning — just,  vivid,  deep.  If  he 
talked  about  any  matter  the  conversation  immediately  made 
a  step  forward ;  he  imported  facts  into  it ;  it  was  a  pleasure  to 
hear  him.     In  politics,  however,  he  was  a  brazen  cynic. 

"  I  am  independent,  I  am,"  he  was  saying  to  a  gentleman 
with  three  stars,  of  whom  apparently  he  was  making  fun. 
"Why  insist  on  my  having   to-day  the  same  opinion  I  had 


264       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

six  weeks  ago.  In  that  case  my  opinion  would  be  my 
master." 

Four  grave  young  men  who  were  standing  round  scowled ; 
these  gentlemen  did  not  like  flippancy.  The  comte  saw  that 
he  had  gone  too  far.  Luckily  he  perceived  the  honest  M. 
Balland,  a  veritable  hypocrite  of  honesty.  The  count  began 
to  talk  to  him ;  people  closed  up,  for  they  realised  that  poor 
Balland  was  going  to  be  the  next  victim. 

M.  Balland,  although  he  was  horribly  ugly  and  his  first 
steps  in  the  world  were  almost  unmentionable,  had  by  dint 
of  his  morals  and  his  morality  married  a  very  rich  wife 
who  had  died ;  he  subsequently  married  a  second  very  rich 
one  who  was  never  seen  in  society.  He  enjoyed,  in  all 
humility,  an  income  of  sixty  thousand  francs,  and  had  his 
own  flatterers.  Comte  Chalvet  talked  to  him  pitilessly  about 
all  this.  There  was  soon  a  circle  of  thirty  persons  around 
them.  Everybody  was  smiling,  including  the  solemn  young 
men  who  were  the  hope  of  the  century. 

"  Why  does  he  come  to  M.  de  la  Mole  where  he  is 
obviously  only  a  laughing  stock?"  thought  Julien.  He 
approached  the  abbe  Pirard  to  ask  him. 

M.  Balland  made  his  escape. 

"  Good,"  said  Norbert,  "  there  is  one  of  the  spies  of  my 
father  gone ;  there  is  only  the  little  limping  Napier  left." 

"  Can  that  be  the  key  of  the  riddle  ?  "  thought  Julien,  "  but 
if  so,  why  does  the  marquis  receive  M.  Balland  ?  " 

The  stern  abbe  Pirard  was  scowling  in  a  corner  of  the 
salon  listening  to  the  lackeys  announcing  the  names. 

"  This  is  nothing  more  than  a  den,"  he  was  saying  like 
another  Basil,  "  I  see  none  but  shady  people  come  in." 

As  a  matter  of  fact  the  severe  abbe  did  not  know  what 
constitutes  high  society.  But  his  friends  the  Jansenites,  had 
given  him  some  very  precise  notions  about  those  men  who  only 
get  into  society  by  reason  of  their  extreme  subtlety  in  the  service 
of  all  parties,  or  of  their  monstrous  wealth.  For  some 
minutes  that  evening  he  answered  Julien's  eager  questions 
fully  and  freely,  and  then  suddenly  stopped  short  grieved  at 
having  always  to  say  ill  of  every  one,  and  thinking  he  was 
guilty  of  a  sin.  Bilious  Jansenist  as  he  was,  and  believing  as 
he  did  in  the  duty  of  Christian  charity,  his  life  was  a  perpetual 
conflict. 


THE  HOTEL  DE  LA  MOLE  265 

"  How  strange  that  abbe  Pirard  looks,"  said  mademoiselle 
de  la  Mole,  as  Julien  came  near  the  sofa. 

Julien  felt  irritated,  but  she  was  right  all  the  same.  M. 
Pirard  was  unquestionably  the  most  honest  man  in  the  salon, 
but  his  pimply  face,  which  was  suffering  from  the  stings  of 
conscience,  made  him  look  hideous  at  this  particular  moment. 
"  Trust  physiognomy  after  this,"  thought  Julien,  "  it  is  only 
when  the  delicate  conscience  of  the  abbe  Pirard  is  reproaching 
him  for  some  trifling  lapse  that  he  looks  so  awful ;  while  the 
expression  of  that  notorious  spy  Napier  shows  a  pure  and 
tranquil  happiness."  The  abbe  Pirard,  however,  had  made 
great  concessions  to  his  party.  He  had  taken  a  servant,  and 
was  very  well  dressed. 

Julien  noticed  something  strange  in  the  salon,  it  was  that 
all  eyes  were  being  turned  towards  the  door,  and  there  was 
a  semi  silence.  The  flunkey  was  announcing  the  famous 
Barron  Tolly,  who  had  just  become  publicly  conspicuous  by 
reason  of  the  elections.  Julien  came  forward  and  had  a  very 
good  view  of  him.  The  baron  had  been  the  president  of  an 
electoral  college;  he  had  the  brilliant  idea  of  spiriting  away  the 
little  squares  of  paper  which  contained  the  votes  of  one  of  the 
parties.  But  to  make  up  for  it  he  replaced  them  by  an  equal 
number  of  other  little  pieces  of  paper  containing  a  name 
agreeable  to  himself.  This  drastic  manoeuvre  had  been 
noticed  by  some  of  the  voters,  who  had  made  an  immediate 
point  of  congratulating  the  Baron  de  Tolly.  The  good  fellow 
was  still  pale  from  this  great  business.  Malicious  persons  had 
pronounced  the  word  galleys.  M.  de  la  Mole  received  him 
coldly.     The  poor  Baron  made  his  escape. 

"  If  he  leaves  us  so  quickly  it's  to  go  to  M.  Comte's," '  said 
Comte  Chalvet  and  everyone  laughed. 

Little  Tanbeau  was  trying  to  win  his  spurs  by  talking  to 
some  silent  noblemen  and  some  intriguers  who,  though  shady, 
were  all  men  of  wit,  and  were  on  this  particular  night  in  great 
force  in  M.  de  la  Mole's  salon  (for  he  was  mentioned  for  a 
place  in  the  ministry).  If  he  had  not  yet  any  subtlety  of 
perception  he  made  up  for  it  as  one  will  see  by  the  energy  of 
his  words. 

"  Why  not  sentence  that  man  to  ten  years'  imprisonment," 

celebrated  conjuror. 


266       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

he  was  saying  at  the  moment  when  Julien  approached  his 
knot.  Those  reptiles  should  be  confined  in  the  bottom  of  a 
dungeon,  they  ought  to  languish  to  death  in  gaol,  otherwise 
their  venom  will  grow  and  become  more  dangerous.  What  is 
the  good  of  sentencing  him  to  a  fine  of  a  thousand  crowns  ? 
He  is  poor,  so  be  it,  all  the  better,  but  his  party  will  pay  for 
him.  What  the  case  required  was  a  five  hundred  francs  fine 
and  ten  years  in  a  dungeon." 

"  Well  to  be  sure,  who  is  the  monster  they  are  speaking 
about  ?  "  thought  Julien  who  was  viewing  with  amazement  the 
vehement  tone  and  hysterical  gestures  of  his  colleague.  At 
this  moment  the  thin,  drawn,  little  face  of  the  academician's 
nephew  was  hideous.  Julien  soon  learnt  that  they  were 
talking  of  the  greatest  poet  of  the  century. 

"  You  monster,"  Julien  exclaimed  half  aloud,  while  tears 
of  generosity  moistened  his  eyes.  "  You  little  rascal,"  he 
thought,  "  I  will  pay  you  out  for  this." 

"  Yet,"  he  thought,  "  those  are  the  unborn  hopes  of  the 
party  of  which  the  marquis  is  one  of  the  chiefs.  How  many 
crosses  and  how  many  sinecures  would  that  celebrated  man 
whom  he  is  now  defaming  have  accumulated  if  he  had  sold 
himself — I  won't  say  to  the  mediocre  ministry  of  M.  de 
Nerval — but  to  one  of  those  reasonably  honest  ministries 
which  we  have  seen  follow  each  other  in  succession." 

The  abbe  Pirard  motioned  to  Julien  from  some  distance 
off;  M.  de  la  Mole  had  just  said  something  to  him.  But 
when  Julien,  who  was  listening  at  the  moment  with  downcast 
eyes  to  the  lamentations  of  the  bishop,  had  at  length  got  free 
and  was  able  to  get  near  his  friend,  he  found  him  monopolised 
by  the  abominable  little  Tanbeau.  The  little  beast  hated 
him  as  the  cause  of  Julien's  favour  with  the  marquis,  and 
was  now  making  up  to  him. 

"  When  will  death  deliver  us  from  that  aged  rottenness" 
it  was  in  these  words  of  a  biblical  energy  that  the  little  man  of 
letters  was  now  talking  of  the  venerable  Lord  Holland.  His 
merit  consisted  in  an  excellent  knowledge  of  the  biography  of 
living  men,  and  he  had  just  made  a  rapid  review  of  all  the 
men  who  could  aspire  to  some  influence  under  the  reign  of 
the  new  King  of  England. 

The  abbe  Pirard  passed  in  to  an  adjacent  salon.  Julien 
followed  him. 


THE  HOTEL  DE  LA  MOLE  267 

"  I  warn  you  the  marquis  does  not  like  scribblers,  it  is  his 
only  prejudice.  Know  Latin  and  Greek  if  you  can  manage 
it,  the  history  of  the  Egyptians,  Persians,  etc.,  he  will  honour 
and  protect  you  as  a  learned  man.  But  don't  write  a  page  of 
French,  especially  on  serious  matters  which  are  above  your 
position  in  society,  or  he  will  call  you  a  scribbler  and  take 
you  for  a  scoundrel.  How  is  it  that  living  as  you  do  in  the 
hotel  of  a  great  lord  you  don't  know  the  Duke  de  Castries' 
epigram  on  Alembert  and  Rousseau :  '  the  fellow  wants  to 
reason  about  everything  and  hasn't  got  an  income  of  a 
thousand  crowns '  !  " 

"Everything  leaks  out  here,"  thought  Julien,  "just  like 
the  seminary."  He  had  written  eight  or  six  fairly  drastic 
pages.  It  was  a  kind  of  historical  eulogy  of  the  old  surgeon- 
major  who  had,  he  said,  made  a  man  of  him.  "  The  little  note 
book,"  said  Julien  to  himself,  "has  always  been  locked."  He 
went  up  to  his  room,  burnt  his  manuscript  and  returned  to 
the  salon.  The  brilliant  scoundrels  had  left  it,  only  the  men 
with  the  stars  were  left. 

Seven  or  eight  very  aristocratic  ladies,  very  devout,  very 
affected,  and  of  from  thirty  to  thirty-five  years  of  age,  were 
grouped  round  the  table  that  the  servants  had  just  brought  in 
ready  served.  The  brilliant  marechale  de  Fervaques  came  in 
apologising  for  the  lateness  of  the  hour.  It  was  more  than 
midnight :  she  went  and  sat  down  near  the  marquise.  Julien 
was  deeply  touched,  she  had  the  eyes  and  the  expression  of 
madame  de  Renal. 

Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's  circle  was  still  full  of  people. 
She  was  engaged  with  her  friends  in  making  fun  of  the 
unfortunate  comte  de  Thaler.  He  was  the  only  son  of  that 
celebrated  Jew  who  was  famous  for  the  riches  that  he  had 
won  by  lending  money  to  kings  to  make  war  on  the  peoples. 

The  Jew  had  just  died  leaving  his  son  an  income  of  one 
hundred  thousand  crowns  a  month,  and  a  name  that  was  only 
too  well  known.  This  strange  position  required  either  a 
simple  character  or  force  of  will  power. 

Unfortunately  the  comte  was  simply  a  fellow  who  was 
inflated  by  all  kinds  of  pretensions  which  had  been  suggested 
to  him  by  all  his  toadies. 

M.  de  Caylus  asserted  that  they  had  induced  him  to  make 
up  his  mind  to  ask  for  the  hand  of  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole, 


268       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

to  whom  the  marquis  de  Croisenois,  who  would  be  a  duke 
with  a  hundred  thousand  francs  a  year,  was  paying  his 
attentions. 

"  Oh,  do  not  accuse  him  of  having  a  mind,"  said  Norbert 
pitifully. 

Will-power  was  what  the  poor  comte  de  Thaler  lacked  most 
of  all.  So  far  as  this  side  of  his  character  went  he  was  worthy 
of  being  a  king.  He  would  take  council  from  everybody,  but 
he  never  had  the  courage  to  follow  any  advice  to  the  bitter 
end. 

"His  physiognomy  would  be  sufficient  in  itself,"  mademoiselle 
de  la  Mole  was  fond  of  saying,  "  to  have  inspired  her  with  a 
holy  joy."  It  was  a  singular  mixture  of  anxiety  and  disappoint- 
ment, but  from  time  to  time  one  could  distinguish  gusts  of 
self-importance,  and  above  all  that  trenchant  tone  suited  to  the 
richest  man  in  France,  especially  when  he  had  nothing  to  be 
ashamed  of  in  his  personal  appearance  and  was  not  yet  thirty- 
six.  "  He  is  timidly  insolent,"  M.  de  Croisenois  would  say. 
The  comte  de  Caylus,  Norbert,  and  two  or  three  moustachoed 
young  people  made  fun  of  him  to  their  heart's  content  without 
him  suspecting  it,  and  finally  packed  him  off  as  one  o'clock 
struck. 

"  Are  those  your  famous  Arab  horses  waiting  for  you  at  the 
door  in  this  awful  weather  ?  "  said  Norbert  to  him. 

"  No,  it  is  a  new  pair  which  are  much  cheaper,"  said  M.  de 
Thaler.  "  The  horse  on  the  left  cost  me  five  thousand  francs, 
while  the  one  on  the  right  is  only  worth  one  hundred  louis,  but 
I  would  ask  you  to  believe  me  when  I  say  that  I  only  have 
him  out  at  night.  His  trot  you  see  is  exactly  like  the  other 
ones." 

Norbert's  remark  made  the  comte  think  it  was  good  form 
for  a  man  like  him  to  make  a  hobby  of  his  horses,  and  that  he 
must  not  let  them  get  wet.  He  went  away,  and  the  other 
gentleman  left  a  minute  afterwards  making  fun  of  him  all  the 
time.  "  So,"  thought  Julien  as  he  heard  them  laugh  on  the 
staircase,  "  I  have  the  privilege  of  seeing  the  exact  opposite  of 
my  own  situation.  I  have  not  got  twenty  louis  a  year  and  I 
found  myself  side  by  side  with  a  man  who  has  twenty  louis  an 
hour  and  they  made  fun  of  him.  Seeing  a  sight  like  that 
cures  one  of  envy." 


CHAPTER  XXXV 

SENSIBILITY   AND   A   GREAT   PIOUS    LADY 

An  idea  which  has  any  life  in  it  seems  like  a  crudity, 
so  accustomed  are  they  to  colourless  expression.  Woe 
to  him  who  introduces  new  ideas  into  his  conversation  ! 

— Faublas. 

This  was  the  stage  Julien  had  reached,  when  after  several 
months  of  probation  the  steward  of  the  household  handed  him 
the  third  quarter  of  his  wages.  M.  de  la  Mole  had  entrusted 
him  with  the  adminisiration  of  his  estates  in  Brittany  and 
Normandy.  Julien  made  frequent  journeys  there.  He  had 
chief  control  of  the  correspondence  relating  to  the  famous 
law-suit  with  the  abbe"  de  Frilair.  M.  Pirard  had  instructed 
him. 

On  the  data  of  the  short  notes  which  the  marquis  would 
scribble  on  the  margin  of  all  the  various  paper  which  were 
addressed  to  him,  Julien  would  compose  answers  which  were 
nearly  all  signed. 

At  the  Theology  School  his  professors  complained  of  his 
lack  of  industry,  but  they  did  not  fail  to  regard  him  as  one  of 
their  most  distinguished  pupils.  This  varied  work,  tackled  as 
it  was  with  all  the  ardour  of  suffering  ambition,  soon  robbed 
Julien  of  that  fresh  complexion  which  he  had  brought  from  the 
provinces.  His  pallor  consiituted  one  of  his  merits  in  the 
eyes  of  his  comrades,  the  young  seminarist;  he  found  them 
much  less  malicious,  much  less  ready  to  bow  down  to  a  silver 
crown  than  those  of  Besangon ;  they  thought  he  was  con- 
sumptive.    The  marquis  had  given  him  a  horse. 

Julien  fearing  that  he  might  meet  people  during  his  rides  on 
horseback,  had  given  out  that  this  exercise  had  been  prescribed 
by  the  doctors.     The  abbe  Pirard  had  taken  him  into  several 


27o       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Jansenist  Societies.  Julien  was  astonished;  the  idea  of  re- 
ligion was  indissolubly  connected  in  his  mind  with  the  ideas  of 
hypocrisy  and  covetousness.  He  admired  those  austere  pious 
men  who  never  gave  a  thought  to  their  income.  Several 
Jansensists  became  friendly  with  him  and  would  give  him 
advice.  A  new  world  opened  before  him.  At  the  Jansenists 
he  got  to  know  a  comte  Altamira,  who  was  nearly  six  feet 
high,  was  a  Liberal,  a  believer,  and  had  been  condemned  to 
death  in  his  own  country.  He  was  struck  by  the  strange  con- 
trast of  devoutness  and  love  of  liberty. 

Julien's  relations  with  the  young  comte  had  become  cool. 
Norbert  had  thought  that  he  answered  the  jokes  of  his  friends 
with  too  much  sharpness.  Julien  had  committed  one  or  two 
breaches  of  social  etiquette  and  vowed  to  himself  that  he 
would  never  speak  to  mademoiselle  Mathilde.  They  were 
always  perfectly  polite  to  him  in  the  hotel  de  la  Mole  but  he 
felt  himself  quite  lost.  His  provincial  commonsense  explained 
this  result  by  the  vulgar  proverb  Tout  beau  tout  nouveau. 

He  gradually  came  to  have  a  little  more  penetration  than 
during  his  first  days,  or  it  may  have  been  that  the  first  glamour 
of  Parisian  urbanity  had  passed  of.  As  soon  as  he  left  off 
working,  he  fell  a  prey  to  a  mortal  boredom.  He  was  ex- 
periencing the  withering  effects  of  that  admirable  politeness  so 
typical  of  good  society,  which  is  so  perfectly  modulated  to 
every  degree  of  the  social  hierarchy. 

No  doubt  the  provinces  can  be  reproached  with  a  common- 
ness and  lack  of  polish  in  their  tone ;  but  they  show  a  certain 
amount  of  passion,  when  they  answer  you.  Julien's  self- 
respect  was  never  wounded  at  the  hotel  de  la  Mole,  but  he 
often  felt  at  the  end  of  the  day  as  though  he  would  like  to  cry. 
A  cafe-waiter  in  the  provinces  will  take  an  interest  in  you  if 
you  happen  to  have  some  accident  as  you  enter  his  cafe,  but 
if  this  accident  has  everything  about  it  which  is  disagreeable 
to  your  vanity,  he  will  repeat  ten  times  in  succession  the  very 
word  which  tortures  you,  as  he  tells  you  how  sorry  he  is.  At 
Paris  they  make  a  point  of  laughing  in  secret,  but  you  always 
remain  a  stranger. 

We  pass  in  silence  over  a  number  of  little  episodes  which 
would  have  made  Julien  ridiculous,  if  he  had  not  been  to  some 
extent  above  ridicule.  A  foolish  sensibility  resulted  in  his 
committing  innumerable  acts  of  bad  taste.     All  his  pleasures 


SENSIBILITY  AND  A  GREAT  PIOUS  LADY   271 

were  precautions ;  he  practiced  pistol  shooting  every  day,  he 
was  one  of  the  promising  pupils  of  the  most  famous  maitres 
d'armes.  As  soon  as  he  had  an  instant  to  himself,  instead  of 
employing  it  in  reading  as  he  did  before,  he  would  rush  off  to 
the  riding  school  and  ask  for  the  most  vicious  horses.  When  he 
went  out  with  the  master  of  the  riding  school  he  was  almost 
invariably  thrown. 

The  marquis  found  him  convenient  by  reason  of  his  per- 
sistent industry,  his  silence  and  his  intelligence,  and  gradually 
took  him  into  his  confidence  with  regard  to  all  his  affairs, 
which  were  in  any  way  difficult  to  unravel.  The  marquis  was  a 
sagacious  business  man  on  all  those  occasious  when  his  lofty 
ambition  gave  him  some  respite ;  having  special  information 
within  his  reach,  he  would  speculate  successfully  on  the 
Exchange.  He  would  buy  mansions  and  forests;  but  he 
would  easily  lose  his  temper.  He  would  give  away  hundreds 
of  louis,  and  would  go  to  law  for  a  few  hundred  francs.  Rich 
men  with  a  lofty  spirit  have  recourse  to  business  not  so 
much  for  results  as  for  distraction.  The  marquis  needed  a 
chief  of  staff  who  would  put  all  his  money  affairs  into  clear 
and  lucid  order.  Madame  de  la  Mole,  although  of  so  even  a 
character,  sometimes  made  fun  of  Julien.  Great  ladies  have 
a  horror  of  those  unexpected  incidents  which  are  produced  by 
a  sensitive  character;  they  constitute  the  opposite  pole  of 
etiquette.  On  two  or  three  occasions  the  marquis  took  his 
part.  "  If  he  is  ridiculous  in  your  salon,  he  triumphs  in  his 
office."  Julien  on  his  side  thought  he  had  caught  the 
marquise's  secret.  She  deigned  to  manifest  an  interest  in 
everything  the  minute  the  Baron  de  la  Joumate  was  announced. 
He  was  a  cold  individual  with  an  expressionless  physiognomy. 
He  was  tall,  thin,  ugly,  very  well  dressed,  passed  his  life  in 
his  chateau,  and  generally  speaking  said  nothing  about  any- 
thing. Such  was  his  outlook  on  life.  Madame  de  la  Mole 
would  have  been  happy  for  the  first  time  in  her  life  if  she  could 
have  made  him  her  daughter's  husband. 


CHAPTER  XXXVI 


PRONUNCIATION 


If  fatuity  is  pardonable  it  is  in  one's  first  youth,  for  it  is  then 
the  exaggeration  of  an  amiable  thing.  It  needs  an  air  of  love, 
gaiety,  nonchalance.  But  fatuity  coupled  with  self-importance  ; 
fatuity  with  a  solemn  and  self-sufficient  manner  !  This  ex- 
travagance of  stupidity  was  reserved  for  the  XlXth  century. 
Such  are  the  persons  who  want  to  unchain  the  hydra  of 
revolutions  !— LE  JOHANNISBURG,  Pamphlet. 

Considering  that  he  was  a  new  arrival  who  was  too  dis- 
dainful to  put  any  questions,  Julien  did  not  fall  into  unduly 
great  mistakes.  One  day  when  he  was  forced  into  a  cafe  in 
the  Rue  St.  Honore  by  a  sudden  shower,  a  big  man  in  a 
beaver  coat,  surprised  by  his  gloomy  look,  looked  at  him  in 
return  just  as  mademoiselle  Amanda's  lover  had  done  before 
at  Besancon. 

Julien  had  reproached  himself  too  often  for  having  endured 
the  other  insult  to  put  up  with  this  stare.  He  asked  for  an 
explanation.  The  man  in  the  tail-coat  immediately  addressed 
him  in  the  lowest  and  most  insulting  language.  All  the  people 
in  the  cafe  surrounded  them.  The  passers-by  stopped  before 
the  door.  Julien  always  carried  some  little  pistols  as  a  matter 
of  precaution.  His  hand  was  grasping  them  nervously  in  his 
pocket.  Nevertheless  he  behaved  wisely  and  confined  him- 
self to  repeating  to  his  man  "  Monsieur,  your  address,  I  despise 
you." 

The  persistency  in  which  he  kept  repeating  these  six  words 
eventually  impressed  the  crowd. 

"  By  Jove,  the  other  who's  talking  all  to  himself  ought  to 
give  him  his  address,"  they  exclaimed.  The  man  in  the  tail- 
coat hearing  this  repeated  several  times,  flung  five  or  six  cards 
in  Julien's  face. 


PRONUNCIATION  273 

Fortunately  none  of  them  hit  him  in  the  face;  he  had 
mentally  resolved  not  to  use  his  pistols  except  in  the  event 
of  his  being  hit.  The  man  went  away,  though  not  without 
turning  round  from  time  to  time  to  shake  his  fist  and  hurl 
insults  at  him. 

Julien  was  bathed  in  sweat.  "  So,"  he  said  angrily  to  him- 
self, "  the  meanest  of  mankind  has  it  in  his  power  to  affect 
me  as  much  as  this.  How  am  I  to  kill  so  humiliating  a 
sensitiveness  ?  " 

Where  was  he  to  find  a  second  ?  He  did  not  have  a  single 
friend.  He  had  several  acquaintances,  but  they  all  regularly 
left  him  after  six  weeks  of  social  intercourse.  "  I  am  un- 
sociable," he  thought,  and  "lam  now  cruelly  punished  for  it." 
Finally  it  occurred  to  him  to  rout  out  an  old  lieutenant  of  the 
96th,  named  Lieven,  a  poor  devil  with  whom  he  often  used  to 
fence.     Julien  was  frank  with  him. 

11 1  am  quite  willing  to  be  your  second,"  said  Lieven,  "  but 
on  one  condition.  If  you  fail  to  wound  your  man  you  will 
fight  with  me  straight  away." 

"Agreed,"  said  Julien  quite  delighted;  and  they  went  to 
find  M.  de  Beauvoisis  at  the  address  indicated  on  his  card  at 
the  end  of  the  Faubourg  Saint  Germain. 

It  was  seven  o'clock  in  the  morning.  It  was  only  when  he 
was  being  ushered  in,  that  Julien  thought  that  it  might  quite 
well  be  the  young  relation  of  Madame  de  Renal,  who  had 
once  been  employed  at  the  Rome  or  Naples  Embassy,  and 
who  had  given  the  singer  Geronimo  a  letter  of  introduction. 

Julien  gave  one  of  the  cards  which  had  been  flung  at  him  the 
previous  evening  together  with  one  of  his  own  to  a  tall  valet. 

He  and  his  second  were  kept  waiting  for  a  good  three- 
quarters  of  an  hour.  Eventually  they  were  ushered  in  to  a 
elegantly  furnished  apartment.  They  found  there  a  tall 
young  man  who  was  dressed  like  a  doll.  His  features  pre- 
sented the  perfection  and  the  lack  of  expression  of  Greek 
beauty.  His  head,  which  was  remarkably  straight,  had  the 
finest  blonde  hair.  It  was  dressed  with  great  care  and  not  a 
single  hair  was  out  of  place. 

"  It  was  to  have  his  hair  done  like  this,  that  is  why  this 
damned  fop  has  kept  us  waiting,"  thought  the  lieutenant  of 
the  96th.  The  variegated  dressing  gown,  the  morning  trousers, 
everything  down  to  the  embroidered  slippers  was  correct.     He 

18 


274       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

was  marvellously  well-groomed.  His  blank  and  aristocratic 
physiognomy  betokened  rare  and  orthodox  ideas ;  the  ideal 
of  a  Mettemichian  diplomatist.  Napoleon  as  well  did  not  like 
to  have  in  his  entourage  officers  who  thought. 

Julien,  to  whom  his  lieutenant  of  the  96th  had  explained, 
that  keeping  him  waiting  was  an  additional  insult  after  having 
thrown  his  card  so  rudely  in  his  face,  entered  brusquely  M.  de 
Beauvoisis'  room.  He  intended  to  be  insolent,  but  at  the  same 
time  to  exhibit  good  form. 

Julien  was  so  astonished  by  the  niceness  of  M.  de  Beauvoisis' 
manners  and  by  the  combination  of  formality,  self-importance, 
and  self-satisfaction  in  his  demeanour,  by  the  admirable 
elegance  of  everything  that  surrounded  him,  that  he  abandoned 
immediately  all  idea  of  being  insolent.  It  was  not  his  man 
of  the  day  before.  His  astonishment  was  so  great  at  meeting 
so  distinguished  a  person,  instead  of  the  rude  creature 
whom  he  was  looking  for,  that  he  could  not  find  a  single  word 
to  say.  He  presented  one  of  the  cards  which  had  been  thrown 
at  him. 

"That's  my  name,"  said  the  young  diplomat,  not  at  all 
impressed  by  Julien's  black  suit  at  seven  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  "  but  I  do  not  understand  the  honour." 

His  manner  of  pronouncing  these  last  words  revived  a  little 
of  Julien's  bad  temper. 

"I  have  come  to  fight  you,  monsieur,"  and  he  explained  in 
a  few  words  the  whole  matter. 

M.  Charles  de  Beauvoisis,  after  mature  reflection,  was  fairly 
satisfied  with  the  cut  of  Julien's  black  suit. 

"  It  comes  from  Staub,  that's  clear,"  he  said  to  himself,  as 
he  heard  him  speak.  "  That  waistcoat  is  in  good  taste. 
Those  boots  are  all  right,  but  on  the  other  hand  just  think  of 
wearing  a  black  suit  in  the  early  morning  !  It  must  be  to  have 
a  better  chance  of  not  being  hit,"  said  the  chevalier  de 
Beauvoisis  to  himself. 

After  he  had  given  himself  this  explanation  he  became 
again  perfectly  polite  to  Julien,  and  almost  treated  him  as  an 
equal.  The  conversation  was  fairly  lengthy,  for  the  matter 
was  a  delicate  one,  but  eventually  Julien  could  not  refuse  to 
acknowledge  the  actual  facts.  The  perfectly  mannered  young 
man  before  him  did  not  bear  any  resemblance  to  the  vulgar 
fellow  who  had  insulted  him  the  previous  day 


PRONUNCIATION  275 

Julien  felt  an  invincible  repugnance  towards  him.  He 
noted  the  self-sufficiency  of  the  chevalier  de  Beauvoisis,  for 
that  was  the  name  by  which  he  had  referred  to  himself, 
shocked  as  he  was  when  Julien  called  him  simply  "  Monsieur." 

He  admired  his  gravity  which,  though  tinged  with  a  certain 
modest  fatuity,  he  never  abandoned  for  a  single  moment.  He 
was  astonished  at  his  singular  manner  of  moving  his  tongue  as 
he  pronounced  his  words,  but  after  all,  this  did  not  present 
the  slightest  excuse  for  picking  a  quarrel. 

The  young  diplomatist  very  graciously  offered  to  fight,  but 
the  ex-lieutenant  of  the  96th,  who  had  been  sitting  down  for 
an  hour  with  his  legs  wide  apart,  his  hands  on  his  thigh,  and 
his  elbows  stuck  out,  decided  that  his  friend,  monsieur  de 
Sorel,  was  not  the  kind  Jto  go  and  pick  a  quarrel  with  a 
man  because  someone  else  had  stolen  that  man's  visiting 
cards. 

Julien  went  out  in  a  very  bad  temper.  The  chevalier  de 
Beauvoisis'  carriage  was  waiting  for  him  in  the  courtyard  before 
the  steps.  By  chance  Julien  raised  his  eyes  and  recognised 
in  the  coachman  his  man  of  the  day  before. 

Seeing  him,  catching  hold  of  him  by  his  big  jacket,  tumbling 
him  down  from  his  seat,  and  horse-whipping  him  thoroughly 
took  scarcely  a  moment. 

Two  lackeys  tried  to  defend  their  comrade.  Julien  received 
some  blows  from  their  fists.  At  the  same  moment,  he  cocked 
one  of  his  little  pistols  and  fired  on  them.  They  took  to 
flight.     All  this  took  about  a  minute. 

The  chevalier  de  Beauvoisis  descended  the  staircase  with 
the  most  pleasing  gravity,  repeating  with  his  lordly  pro- 
nunciation, "  What  is  this,  what  is  this."  He  was  manifestly 
very  curious,  but  his  diplomatic  importance  would  not  allow 
him  to  evince  any  greater  interest. 

When  he  knew  what  it  was  all  about,  a  certain  haughtiness 
tried  to  assert  itself  in  that  expression  of  slightly  playful 
nonchalance  which  should  never  leave  a  diplomatist's  face. 

The  lieutenant  of  the  96th  began  to  realise  that  M.  de 
Beauvoisis  was  anxious  to  fight.  He  was  also  diplomatic 
enough  to  wish  to  reserve  for  his  friend  the  advantage  of 
taking  the  initiative. 

"  This  time,"  he  exclaimed,  "  there  is  ground  for  duel." 

0  I  think  there's  enough,"  answered  the  diplomat 


276       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"  Turn  that  rascal  out,"  he  said  to  his  lackeys.  "  Let 
someone  else  get  up." 

The  door  of  the  carriage  was  open.  The  chevalier  insisted 
on  doing  the  honours  to  Julien  and  his  friend.  They  sent  for 
a  friend  of  M.  de  Beauvoisis,  who  chose  them  a  quiet  place. 
The  conversation  on  their  way  went  as  a  matter  of  fact  very 
well  indeed.  The  only  extraordinary  feature  was  the  diplomatist 
in  a  dressing-gown. 

"  These  gentlemen,  although  very  noble,  are  by  no  means 
as  boring,"  thought  Julien,  "  as  the  people  who  come  and 
dine  at  M.  de  la  Mole's,  and  I  can  see  why,"  he  added  a  moment 
afterwards.  "  They  allow  themselves  to  be  indecent."  They 
talked  about  the  dancers  that  the  public  had  distinguished 
with  its  favour  at  the  ballet  presented  the  night  before.  The 
two  gentlemen  alluded  to  some  spicy  anecdotes  of  which 
Julien  and  his  second,  the  lieutenant  of  the  96th,  were 
absolutely  ignorant. 

Julien  was  not  stupid  enough  to  pretend  to  know  them. 
He  confessed  his  ignorance  with  a  good  grace.  This  frank- 
ness pleased  the  chevalier's  friend.  He  told  him  these 
stories  with  the  greatest  detail  and  extremely  well. 

One  thing  astonished  Julien  inordinately.  The  carriage 
was  pulled  up  for  a  moment  by  an  altar  which  was  being  built 
in  the  middle  of  the  street  for  the  procession  of  Corpus  Christi 
Day.  The  two  gentlemen  indulged  in  the  luxury  of  several 
jests.  According  to  them,  the  cure  was  the  son  of  an  arch- 
bishop. Such  a  joke  would  never  have  been  heard  in  the  house 
of  M.  de  la  Mole,  who  was  trying  to  be  made  a  duke.  The  duel 
was  over  in  a  minute.  Julien  got  a  ball  in  his  arm.  They 
bandaged  it  with  handkerchiefs  which  they  wetted  with 
brandy,  and  the  chevalier  de  Beauvoisis  requested  Julien  with 
great  politeness  to  allow  him  to  take  him  home  in  the  same 
carriage  that  had  brought  him.  When  Julien  gave  the  name 
of  M.  de  la  Mole's  hotel,  the  young  diplomat  and  his  friend 
exchanged  looks.  Julien's  fiacre  was  here,  but  they  found 
these  gentlemen's  conversation  more  entertaining  than  that  of 
the  good  lieutenant  of  the  96th. 

"  By  Jove,  so  a  duel  is  only  that,"  thought  Julien.  "  What 
luck  I  found  that  coachman  again.  How  unhappy  I  should 
have  been  if  I  had  had  to  put  up  with  that  insult  as  well." 
Thesin   amug   conversation   had   scarcely    been   interrupted. 


PRONUNCIATION  277 

Julien  realised  that  the  affectation  of  diplomatists  is  good  for 
something. 

"  So  ennui,"  he  said  himself,  "  is  not  a  necessary  incident  of 
conversation  among  well-born  people.  These  gentlemen  make 
fun  of  the  Corpus  Christi  procession  and  dare  to  tell  extremely 
obscene  anecdotes,  and  what  is  more,  with  picturesque  details. 
The  only  thing  they  really  lack  is  the  ability  to  discuss  politics 
logically,  and  that  lack  is  more  than  compensated  by  their 
graceful  tone,  and  the  perfect  aptness  of  their  expressions." 
Julien  experienced  a  lively  inclination  for  them.  "  How  happy 
I  should  be  to  see  them  often." 

They  had  scarcely  taken  leave  of  each  other  before  the 
chevalier  de  Beauvoisis  had  enquiries  made.  They  were  not 
brilliant. 

He  was  very  curious  to  know  his  man.  Could  he  decently 
pay  a  call  on  him  ?  The  little  information  he  had  succeeded 
in  obtaining  from  him  was  not  of  an  encouraging  character. 

"  Oh,  this  is  awful,"  he  said  to  his  second.  "  I  can't 
possibly  own  up  to  having  fought  a  duel  with  a  mere  secretary 
of  M.  de  la  Mole,  simply  because  my  coachman  stole  my 
visiting  cards." 

"There  is  no  doubt  that  all  this  may  make  you  look 
ridiculous." 

That  very  evening  the  chevalier  de  Beauvoisis  and  his  friend 
said  everywhere  that  this  M.  Sorel  who  was,  moreover,  quite 
a  charming  young  man,  was  a  natural  son  of  an  intimate  friend 
of  the  marquis  de  la  Mole.  This  statement  was  readily 
accepted.  Once  it  was  established,  the  young  diplomatist 
and  friend  deigned  to  call  several  times  on  Julien  during  the 
fortnight.  Julien  owned  to  them  that  he  had  only  been  to  the 
Opera  once  in  his  life.  "  That  is  awful,"  said  one,  "  that  is 
the  only  place  one  does  go  to.  Your  first  visit  must  be  when 
they  are  playing  the  '  Comte  Ory.'  " 

The  chevalier  de  Beauvoisis  introduced  him  at  the  opera 
to  the  famous  singer  Geronimo,  who  was  then  enjoying  an 
immense  success. 

Julien  almost  paid  court  to  the  chevalier.  His  mixture  of 
self-respect,  mysterious  self-importance,  and  fatuous  youthful- 
ness  fascinated  him.  The  chevalier,  for  example,  would 
stammer  a  little,  simply  because  he  had  the  honour  of  seeing 
frequently  a  very  noble  lord  who  had  this  defect.     Julien  had 


278  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

never  before  found  combined  in  one  and  the  same  person  the 
drollery  which  amuses,  and  those  perfect  manners  which 
should  be  the  object  of  a  poor  provincial's  imitation. 

He  was  seen  at  the  opera  with  the  chevalier  de  Beauvoisis. 
This  association  got  him  talked  about. 

"  Well,"  said  M.  de  la  Mole  to  him  one  day,  "  so  here  you 
are,  the  narural  son  of  a  rich  gentleman  of  Franche  Comte,  an 
intimate  friend  of  mine." 

The  marquis  cut  Julien  short  as  he  started  to  protest  that 
he  had  not  in  any  way  contributed  to  obtaining  any  credence 
for  this  rumour. 

"  M.  de  Beauvoisis  did  not  fancy  having  fought  a  duel  with 
the  son  of  a  carpenter." 

"  I  know  it,  I  know  it,"  said  M.  de  la  Mole.  "  It  is  my 
business  now  to  give  some  consistency  to  this  story  which 
rather  suits  me.  But  I  have  one  favour  to  ask  of  you,  which 
will  only  cost  you  a  bare  half-hour  of  your  time.  Go  and 
watch  every  opera  day  at  half-past  eleven  all  the  people  in 
society  coming  out  in  the  vestibule.  I  still  see  you  have 
certain  provincial  mannerisms.  You  must  rid  yourself  of 
them.  Besides  it  would  do  no  harm  to  know,  at  any  rate  by 
sight,  some  of  the  great  personages  to  whom  I  may  one  day 
send  you  on  a  commission.  Call  in  at  the  box  office  to  get 
identified.     Admission  has  been  secured  for  you." 


CHAPTER  XXXVII 


AN    ATTACK    OF   GOUT 


And  I  got  advancement,  not  on  my  merit,  but  because  my 
master  had  the  gout.  —  Bertolotti. 

The   reader   is   perhaps   surprised   by   this  free  and   almos 
friendly  tone.     We  had  forgotten  to  say  that  the  marquis  had 
been  confined  to  his  house  for  six  weeks  by  the  gout. 

Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  and  her  mother  were  at  Hyeres 
near  the  marquise's  mother.  The  comte  Norbert  only  saw  his 
father  at  stray  moments.  They  got  on  very  well,  but  had 
nothing  to  say  to  each  other.  M.  de  la  Mole,  reduced  to 
Julien's  society,  was  astonished  to  find  that  he  possessed  ideas. 
He  made  him  read  the  papers  to  him.  Soon  the  young 
secretary  was  competent  to  pick  out  the  interesting  passages. 
There  was  a  new  paper  which  the  marquis  abhorred.  He 
had  sworn  never  to  read  it,  and  spoke  about  it  every  day. 
Julien  laughed.  In  his  irritation  against  the  present  time,  the 
marquis  made  him  read  Livy  aloud.  The  improvised 
translation  of  the  Latin  text  amused  him.  The  marquis  said 
one  day  in  that  tone  of  excessive  politeness  which  frequently 
tried  Julien's  patience, 

"  Allow  me  to  present  you  with  a  blue  suit,  my  dear  Sorel. 
When  you  find  it  convenient  to  wear  it  and  to  come  and  see 
me,  I  shall  look  upon  you  as  the  younger  brother  of  the 
comte  de  Chaulnes,  that  is  to  say,  the  son  of  my  friend  the 
old  Duke." 

Julien  did  not  quite  gather  what  it  was  all  about,  but  he 
tried  a  visit  in  the  blue  suit  that  very  evening.  The  marquis 
treated  him  like  an  equal.  Julien  had  a  spirit  capable  of 
appreciating  true  politeness,  but  he  had  no  idea  of  nuances. 
Before  this  freak  of  the  marquis's  he  would  have  sworn  that  it 


z8o       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

was  impossibls  for  him  to  have  been  treated  with  more 
consideration.  "  What  an  admirable  talent,"  said  Julien  to 
himself.  When  he  got  up  to  go,  the  marquis  apologised  for 
not  being  able  to  accompany  him  by  reason  ot  his  gout. 

Julien  was  preoccupied  by  this  strange  idea.  "  Perhaps  he 
is  making  fun  of  me,"  he  thought.  He  went  to  ask  advice  of 
the  abbe  Pirard,  who  being  less  polite  than  the  marquis,  made 
no  other  answer  except  to  whistle  and  change  the  subject. 

Julien  presented  himself  to  the  marquis  the  next  morning 
in  his  black  suit,  with  his  letter  case  and  his  letters  for 
signature.  He  was  received  in  the  old  way,  but  when  he 
wore  the  blue  suir  that  evening,  the  marquis's  tone  was  quite 
different,  and  absolutely  as  polite  as  on  the  previous  day. 

"As  you  are  not  exactly  bored,"  said  the  marquis  to  him, 
"  by  these  visits  whicn  you  are  kind  enough  to  pay  to  a  poor 
old  man,  you  must  tell  him  about  all  the  little  incidents  of 
your  life,  but  you  must  be  frank  and  think  of  nothing  except 
narrating  them  clearly  and  in  an  amusing  way.  For  one 
must  amuse  oneself,"  continued  the  marquis.  "  That's  the 
only  reality  in  life.  I  can't  have  my  life  saved  in  a  battle 
every  day,  or  get  a  present  of  a  million  francs  every  day,  but  if 
I  had  Rivarol  here  by  my  sofa  he  would  rid  me  every  day  of 
an  hour  of  suffering  and  boredom.  I  saw  a  lot  of  him  at 
Hamburg  during  the  emigration." 

And  the  marquis  told  Julien  the  stories  of  Rivarol  and  the 
inhabitants  of  Hamburg  who  needed  the  combined  efforts  of 
four  individuals  to  understand  an  epigram.  M.  de  la  Mole, 
being  reduced  to  the  society  of  this  little  abbe,  tried  to  teach 
him.  He  put  Julien's  pride  on  its  mettle.  As  he  was  asked 
to  speak  the  truth,  Julien  resolved  to  tell  everything,  but  to 
suppress  two  things,  his  fanatical  admiration  for  the  name 
which  irritated  the  marquis,  and  that  complete  scepticism, 
which  was  not  particularly  appropriate  to  a  prospective  cure. 
His  little  affair  with  the  chevalier  de  Beauvoisis  came  in  very 
handy.  The  marquis  laughed  till  the  tears  came  into  his 
eyes  at  the  scene  in  the  cafe  in  the  Rue  St.  Honore  with  the 
coachman  who  had  loaded  him  with  sordid  insults.  The 
occasion  was  marked  by  a  complete  frankness  between  the 
marquis  and  the  protege. 

M.  de  la  Mole  became  interested  in  this  singular  character. 
At  the   beginning  he  had  encouraged  Jullikn's  droll  blunders 


AN  ATTACK  OF  GOUT  281 

in  order  to  enjoy  laughing  at  them.  Soon  he  found  it  more 
interesting  to  correct  very  gently  this  young  man's  false 
outlook  on  life. 

"  All  other  provincials  who  come  to  Paris  admire  everything," 
thought  the  marquis.  "This  one  hates  everything.  They 
have  too  much  affectation ;  he  has  not  affectation  enough ;  and 
fools  take  him  for  a  fool." 

The  attack  of  gout  was  protracted  by  the  great  winter  cold 
and  lasted  some  months. 

"  One  gets  quite  attached  to  a  fine  spaniel,"  thought  the 
marquis.  "  Why  should  I  be  so  ashamed  of  being  attached  to 
this  little  abbe  ?  He  is  original.  I  treat  him  as  a  son.  Well, 
where's  the  bother?  The  whim,  if  it  lasts,  will  cost  me  a 
diamond  and  five  hundred  louis  in  my  will."  Once  the 
marquis  had  realised  his  protege's  strength  of  character,  he 
entrusted  him  with  some  new  business  every  day. 

Julien  noticed  with  alarm  that  this  great  lord  would  often 
give  him  inconsistent  orders  with  regard  to  the  same  matter. 

That  might  compromise  him  seriously.  Julien  now  made 
a  point  whenever  he  worked  with  him,  of  bringing  a  register 
with  him  in  which  he  wrote  his  instructions  which  the 
marquis  initialled.  Julien  had  now  a  clerk  who  would 
transcribe  the  instructions  relating  to  each  matter  in  a  separate 
book.     This  book  also  contained  a  copy  of  all  the  letters. 

This  idea  seemed  at  first  absolutely  boring  and  ridiculous, 
but  in  two  months  the  marquis  appreciated  its  advantages. 
Julien  suggested  to  him  that  he  should  take  a  clerk  out  of  a 
banker's  who  was  to  keep  proper  book-keeping  accounts  of  all 
the  receipts  and  of  all  the  expenses  of  the  estates  which  Julien 
had  been  charged  to  administer. 

These  measures  so  enlightened  the  marquis  as  to  his  own 
affairs  that  he  could  indulge  the  pleasure  of  undertaking  two 
or  three  speculations  without  the  help  of  his  nominee  who 
always  robbed  him. 

"  Take  three  thousand  francs  for  yourself,"  he  said  one  day 
to  his  young  steward. 

"  Monsieur,  I  should  lay  myself  open  to  calumny." 

"  What  do  you  want  then  ?  "  retorted  the  marquis  irritably. 

"  Perhaps  you  will  be  kind  enough  to  make  out  a  statement 
of  account  and  enter  it  in  your  own  hand  in  the  book.  That 
order  will  give  me  a  sum  of  3,000  francs.     Besides  it's  M.  the 


282      THE  BLACK  AND  THE  RED 

abbe  Pirard  who  had  the  idea  of  all  this  exactness  in 
accounts."  The  marquis  wrote  out  his  instructions  in  the 
register  with  the  bored  air  of  the  Marquis  de  Moncade  listen- 
ing to  the  accounts  of  his  steward  M.  Poisson. 

Business  was  never  talked  when  Julien  appeared  in  the 
evening  in  his  blue  suit.  The  kindness  of  the  marquis  was  so 
flattering  to  the  self-respect  of  our  hero,  which  was  always 
morbidly  sensitive,  that  in  spite  of  himself,  he  soon  came  to 
feel  a  kind  of  attachment  for  this  nice  old  man.  It  is  not 
that  Julien  was  a  man  of  sensibility  as  the  phrase  is  understood 
at  Paris,  but  he  was  not  a  monster,  and  no  one  since  the 
death  of  the  old  major  had  talked  to  him  with  so  much  kind- 
ness. He  observed  that  the  marquis  showed  a  politeness  and 
consideration  for  his  own  personal  feelings  which  he  had  never 
found  in  the  old  surgeon.  He  now  realised  that  the  surgeon 
was  much  prouder  of  his  cross  than  was  the  marquis  of  his 
blue  ribbon.     The  marquis's  father  had  been  a  great  lord. 

One  day,  at  the  end  of  a  morning  audience  for  the  transac- 
tion of  business,  when  the  black  suit  was  worn,  Julien 
happened  to  amuse  the  marquis  who  kept  him  for  a  couple  of 
hours,  and  insisted  on  giving  him  some  banknotes  which  his 
nominee  had  just  brought  from  the  house. 

"  I  hope  M.  le  Marquis,  that  I  am  not  deviating  from  the 
profound  respect  which  I  owe  you,  if  I  beg  you  to  allow  me 
to  say  a  word." 

"  Speak,  my  friend." 

"  M.  ie  Marquis  will  deign  to  allow  me  to  refuse  this  gift. 
It  is  not  meant  for  the  man  in  the  black  suit,  and  it  would 
completely  spoil  those  manners  which  you  have  kindly  put  up 
with  in  the  man  in  the  blue  suit."  He  saluted  with  much 
respect  and  went  out  without  looking  at  his  employer. 

This  incident  amused  the  marquis.  He  told  it  in  the 
evening  to  the  abbe  Pirard. 

"  I  must  confess  one  thing  to  you,  my  dear  abbe.  I  know 
Julien's  birth,  and  I  authorise  you  not  to  regard  this  confidence 
as  a  secret." 

His  conduct  this  morning  is  noble,  thought  the  marquis,  so 
I  will  ennoble  him  myself. 

Some  time  afterwards  the  marquis  was  able  to  go  out. 

"  Go  and  pass  a  couple  of  months  at  London,"  he  said  to 
Julien.      "Ordinary  and  special  couriers  will  bring  you  the 


AN  ATTACK  OF  GOUT  283 

letters  I  have  received,  together  with  my  notes.  You  will 
write  out  the  answers  and  send  them  back  to  me,  putting  each 
letter  inside  the  answer.  I  have  ascertained  that  the  delay 
will  be  no  more  than  five  days." 

As  he  took  the  post  down  the  Calais  route,  Julien  was 
astonished  at  the  triviality  of  the  alleged  business  on  which  he 
had  been  sent. 

We  will  say  nothing  about  the  feeling  of  hate  and  almost 
horror  with  which  he  touched  English  soil.  His  mad  passion 
for  Bonaparte  is  already  known.  He  saw  in  every  officer  a  Sir 
Hudson  Low,  in  every  great  noble  a  Lord  Bathurst,  ordering 
the  infamies  of  St.  Helena  and  being  recompensed  by  six 
years  of  office. 

At  London  he  really  got  to  know  the  meaning  of  sublime 
fatuity.  He  had  struck  up  a  friendship  with  some  young 
Russian  nobles  who  initiated  him. 

"  Your  future  is  assured,  my  dear  Sorel,"  they  said  to  him. 
"  You  naturally  have  that  cold  demeanour,  a  thousand  leagues 
away  from  the  sensation  one  has  at  the  moment >  that  we  have 
been  making  such  efforts  to  acquire." 

"  You  have  not  understood  your  century,"  said  the  Prince 
Korasoff  to  him.  "  Always  do  the  opposite  of  what  is  expected 
of  you.  On  my  honour  there  you  have  the  sole  religion  of 
the  period.  Don't  be  foolish  or  affected,  for  then  follies  and 
affectations  will  be  expected  of  you,  and  the  maxim  will  not 
longer  prove  true." 

Julien  covered  himself  with  glory  one  day  in  the  Salon  of 
the  Duke  of  Fitz-Folke  who  had  invited  him  to  dinner 
together  with  the  Prince  Korasoff.  They  waited  for  an  hour. 
The  way  in  which  Julien  conducted  himself  in  the  middle  of 
twenty  people  who  were  waiting  is  still  quoted  as  a  precedent 
among  the  young  secretaries  of  the  London  Embassy.  His 
demeanour  was  unimpeachable. 

In  spite  of  his  friends,  the  dandies,  he  made  a  point  of 
seeing  the  celebrated  Philip  Vane,  the  one  philosopher  that 
England  has  had  since  Locke.  He  found  him  finishing  his 
seventh  year  in  prison.  The  aristocracy  doesn't  joke  in 
this  country,  thought  Julien.  Moreover  Vane  is  disgraced, 
calumniated,  etc. 

Julien  found  him  in  cheery  spirits.  The  rage  of  the 
aristocracy  prevented  him  from  being  bored.     "There's  the 


284       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

only  merry  man  I've  seen   in    England,"  thought  Julien  to 
himself,  as  he  left  the  prison. 

"The  idea  which  tyrants  find  most  useful  is  the  idea  of 
God,"  Vane  had  said  to  him. 

We  suppress  the  rest  of  the  system  as  being  cynical. 

"  What  amusing  notion  do  you  bring  me  from  England  ?  " 
said  M.  la  Mole  to  him  on  his  return.  He  was  silent. 
"  What  notion  do  you  bring  me,  amusing  or  otherwise  ? " 
repeated  the  marquis  sharply. 

"  In  the  first  place,"  said  Julien,  "  The  sanest  Englishman 
is  mad  one  hour  every  day.  He  is  visited  by  the  Demon  of 
Suicide  who  is  the  local  God. 

"  In  the  second  place,  intellect  and  genius  lose  twenty-five 
per  cent,  of  their  value  when  they  disembark  in  England. 

"  In  the  third  place,  nothing  in  the  world  is  so  beautiful,  so 
admirable,  so  touching,  as  the  English  landscapes." 

11  Now  it  is  my  turn,"  said  the  marquis. 

"  In  the  first  place,  why  do  you  go  and  say  at  the  ball  at 
the  Russian  Ambassador's  that  there  were  three  hundred 
thousand  young  men  of  twenty  in  France  who  passionately 
desire  war  ?     Do  you  think  that  is  nice  for  the  kings  ?  " 

"  One  doesn't  know  what  to  do  when  talking  to  great 
diplomats,"  said  Julien.  "They  have  a  mania  for  starting 
serious  discussions.  If  one  confines  oneself  to  the  common- 
places of  the  papers,  one  is  taken  for  a  fool.  If  one  indulges 
in  some  original  truth,  they  are  astonished  and  at  a  loss  for  an 
answer,  and  get  you  informed  by  the  first  Secretary  of  the 
Embassy  at  seven  o'clock  next  day  that  your  conduct  has  been 
unbecoming." 

"Not  bad,"  said  the  marquis  laughing.  "Anyway  I  will 
wager  Monsieur  Deep-one  that  you  have  not  guessed  what  you 
went  to  do  in  England." 

"  Pardon  me,"  answered  Julien.  "  I  went  there  to  dine  once 
a  week  with  the  king's  ambassador,  who  is  the  most  polite  of 
men." 

"You  went  to  fetch  this  cross  you  see  here,"  said  the 
marquis  to  him.  "  I  do  not  want  to  make  you  leave  off  your 
black  suit,  and  I  have  got  accustomed  to  the  more  amusing 
tone  I  have  assumed  with  the  man  who  wears  the  blue  suit. 
So  understand  this  until  further  orders.  When  I  see  this  cross, 
you  will  be  my  friend,  the  Duke  of  Chaulne's  younger  son, 


AN  ATTACK  OF  GOUT  285 

who  has  been  employed  in  the  diplomatic  service  the  last  six 
months  without  having  any  idea  of  it.  Observe,"  added  the 
marquis  very  seriously,  cutting  short  all  manifestations  of 
thanks,  "  that  I  do  not  want  you  to  forget  your  place.  That 
is  always  a  mistake  and  a  misfortune  both  for  patron  and  for 
dependent.  When  my  lawsuits  bore  you,  or  when  you  no 
longer  suit  me,  I  will  ask  a  good  living  like  that  of  our  good 
friend  the  abbe  Pirard's  for  you,  and  nothing  more,"  added 
the  marquis  dryly.  This  put  Julien's  pride  at  its  ease.  He 
talked  much  more.  He  did  not  so  frequently  think  himself 
insulted  and  aimed  at  by  those  phrases  which  are  susceptible 
of  some  interpretation  which  is  scarcely  polite,  and  which 
anybody  may  give  utterance  to  in  the  course  of  an  animated 
conversation. 

This  cross  earned  him  a  singular  visit.  It  was  that  of  the 
baron  de  Valenod,  who  came  to  Paris  to  thank  the  Minister 
for  his  barony,  and  arrive  at  an  understanding  with  him.  He 
was  going  to  be  nominated  mayor  of  Verrieres,  and  to 
supersede  M.  de  Renal. 

Julien  did  not  fail  to  smile  to  himself  when  M.  Valenod 
gave  him  to  understand  that  they  had  just  found  out  that  M. 
de  Renal  was  a  Jacobin.  The  fact  was  that  the  new  baron 
was  the  ministerial  candidate  at  the  election  for  which  they 
were  all  getting  ready,  and  that  it  was  M.  de  Renal  who  was 
the  Liberal  candidate  at  the  great  electoral  college  of  the 
department,  which  was,  in  fact,  very  ultra. 

It  was  in  vain  that  Julien  tried  to  learn  something  about 
madame  de  Renal.  The  baron  seemed  to  remember  their 
former  rivalry,  and  was  impenetrable.  He  concluded  by 
canvassing  Julien  for  his  father's  vote  at  the  election  which 
was  going  to  take  place.     Julien  promised  to  write. 

"You  ought,  monsieur  le  Chevalier,  to  present  me  to  M. 
the  marquis  de  la  Mole." 

"  I  ought,  as  a  matter  of  fact,"  thought  Julien.  "  But  a 
rascal  like  that !  " 

"  As  a  matter  of  fact,"  he  answered,  "  I  am  too  small  a 
personage  in  the  hotel  de  la  Mole  to  take  it  upon  myself  to 
introduce  anyone."  Julien  told  the  marquis  everything.  In 
the  evening  he  described  Valenod's  pretensions,  as  well  as  his 
deeds  and  feats  since  18 14. 

"  Not  only  will  you  present  the  new  baron  to  me,"  replied 


286       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

de  la  Mole,  very  seriously,  "but  I  will  invite  him  to  dinner 
for  the  day  after  to-morrow.  He  will  be  one  of  our  new 
prefects." 

"  If  that  is  the  case,  I  ask  for  my  father  the  post  of  director 
of  the  workhouse,"  answered  Julian,  coldly. 

"  With  pleasure,"  answered  the  marquis  gaily.  "  It  shall 
be  granted.     I  was  expecting  a  lecture.     You  are  getting  on." 

M.  de  Valenod  informed  Julien  that  the  manager  of  the 
lottery  office  at  Verrieres  had  just  died.  Julien  thought  it 
humorous  to  give  that  place  to  M.  de  Cholin,  the  old  dotard 
whose  petition  he  had  once  picked  up  in  de  la  Mole's  room. 
The  marquis  laughed  heartily  at  the  petition,  which  Julien 
recited  as  he  made  him  sign  the  letter  which  requested  that 
appointment  of  the  minister  of  finance. 

M.  de  Cholin  had  scarcely  been  nominated,  when  Julien 
learnt  that  that  post  had  been  asked  by  the  department  for 
the  celebrated  geometrician,  monsieur  Gros.  That  generous 
man  had  an  income  of  only  1400  francs,  and  every  year  had  lent 
600  to  the  late  manager  who  had  just  died,  to  help  him  bring 
up  his  family. 

Julien  was  astonished  at  what  he  had  done. 

"That's  nothing,"  he  said  to  himself.  "  It  will  be  necessary 
to  commit  several  other  injustices  if  I  mean  to  get  on,  and 
also  to  conceal  them  beneath  pretty,  sentimental  speeches. 
Poor  monsieur  Gros  !  It  is  he  who  deserves  the  cross.  It  is 
I  who  have  it,  and  I  ought  to  conform  to  the  spirit  of  the 
Government  which  gives  it  me." 


CHAPTER  XXXVIII 

WHAT    IS   THE   DECORATION    WHICH    CONFERS    DISTINCTION  ? 

"  Thy  water  refreshes  me  not,"  said  the  transformed  genie. 
"  'Tis  nevertheless  the  freshest  well  in  ali  Diar-Bekir — Peliico. 

One  day  Julien  had  just  returned  from  the  charming  estate 
of  Villequier  on  the  banks  of  the  Seine,  which  was  the  especial 
subject  of  M.  de  la  Mole's  interest  because  it  was  the  only  one 
of  all  his  properties  which  had  belonged  to  the  celebrated 
Boniface  de  la  Mole. 

He  found  the  marquise  and  her  daughter,  who  had  just 
come  back  from  Hyeres,  in  the  hotel.  Julien  was  a  dandy 
now,  and  understood  the  art  of  Paris  life.  He  manifested  a 
perfect  coldness  towards  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole.  He 
seemed  to  have  retained  no  recollection  of  the  day  when  she 
had  asked  him  so  gaily  for  details  of  his  fall  from  his  horse. 

Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  thought  that  he  had  grown  taller 
and  paler.  There  was  no  longer  anything  of  the  provincial 
in  his  figure  or  his  appearance.  It  was  not  so  with  his  con- 
versation. Too  much  of  the  serious  and  too  much  of  the 
positive  element  were  still  noticeable.  In  spite  of  these  sober 
qualities,  his  conversation,  thanks  to  his  pride,  was  destitute 
of  any  trace  of  the  subordinate.  One  simply  felt  that  there 
were  still  too  many  things  which  he  took  seriously.  But  one 
saw  that  he  was  the  kind  of  man  to  stick  to  his  guns. 

"  He  lacks  lightness  of  touch,  but  not  brains,"  said  made- 
moiselle de  la  Mole  to  her  father,  as  she  rallied  him  on  the 
cross  that  he  had  given  Julien.  "  My  brother  has  been  asking 
you  for  it  for  sixteen  months,  and  he  is  a  La  Mole." 

"  Yes,  but  Julien  has  surprises,  and  that's  what  the  de  la 
Mole,  whom  you  were  referring  to,  has  never  been  guilty  of." 

M.  the  due  de  Retz  was  announced. 


288       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Mathilde  felt  herself  seized  by  an  irresistible  attack  of 
yawning.  She  knew  so  well  the  old  gildings  and  the  old 
habitues  of  her  father's  salon.  She  conjured  up  an  absolutely 
boring  picture  of  the  life  which  she  was  going  to  take  up  at 
Paris,  and  yet,  when  at  Hyeres,  she  had  regretted  Paris. 

"And  yet  I  am  nineteen,"  she  thought.  " That's  the  age  of 
happiness,  say  all  those  gilt-edged  ninnies'." 

She  looked  at  eight  or  ten  new  volumes  of  poetry  which 
had  accumulated  on  the  table  in  the  salon  during  her 
journey  in  Provence.  She  had  the  misfortune  to  have  more 
brains  than  M.M.  de  Croisnois,  de  Caylus,  de  Luz,  and  her 
other  friends.  She  anticipated  all  that  they  were  going  to  tell 
her  about  the  fine  sky  of  Provence,  poetry,  the  South,  etc.,  etc. 

These  fine  eyes,  which  were  the  home  of  the  deepest  ennui, 
and  worse  still,  of  the  despair  of  ever  finding  pleasure,  lingered 
on  Julien.     At  any  rate,  he  was  not  exactly  like  the  others. 

"  Monsieur  Sorel,"  she  said,  in  that  short,  sharp  voice, 
destitute  of  all  femininity,  which  is  so  frequent  among  young 
women  of  the  upper  class. 

"  Monsieur  Sorel,  are  you  coming  to-night  to  M.  de  Retz's 
ball?" 

"  Mademoiselle,  I  have  not  had  the  honour  of  being 
presented  to  M.  the  duke."  (One  would  have  said  that  these 
words  and  that  title  seared  the  mouth  of  the  proud  provincial). 

"  He  asked  my  brother  to  take  you  there,  and  if  you  go, 
you  could  tell  me  some  details  about  the  Villequier  estate. 
We  are  thinking  of  going  there  in  the  spring,  and  I  would  like 
to  know  if  the  chateau  is  habitable,  and  if  the  neighbouring 
places  are  as  pretty  as  they  say.  There  are  so  many  unmerited 
reputations." 

Julien  did  not  answer. 

"  Come  to  the  ball  with  my  brother,"  she  added,  very  dryly. 

Julien  bowed  respectfully. 

"  So  I  owe  my  due  to  the  members  of  the  family,  even  in 
the  middle  of  a  ball.  Am  I  not  paid  to  be  their  business 
man?"  His  bad  temper  added,  "God  knows,  moreover,  if 
what  I  tell  the  daughter  will  not  put  out  the  plans  of  the 
father,  brother,  and  mother.  It  is  just  like  the  court  of  a 
sovereign  prince.  You  have  to  be  absolutely  negative,  and 
yet  give  no  one  any  right  to  complain." 

"  How   that   big   girl   displeases  me  !  "   he  thought,  as  he 


WHICH  DECORATION  DISTINGUISHES?     289 

watched  the  walk  of  Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole,  whom  her 
mother  had  called  to  present  to  several  women  friends  of 
hers.  She  exaggerates  all  the  fashions.  Her  dress  almost 
falls  down  to  her  shoulders,  she  is  even  paler  than  before  she 
went  away.  How  nondescript  her  hair  has  grown  as  the 
result  of  being  blonde  !  You  would  say  that  the  light  passed 
through  it. 

What  a  haughty  way  of  bowing  and  of  looking  at  you  ! 
What  queenly  gestures  !  Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  had  just 
called  her  brother  at  the  moment  when  he,  was  leaving  the 
salon. 

The  comte  de  Norbert  approached  Julien. 

"  My  dear  Sorel,"  he  said  to  him.  "  Where  would  you  like 
me  to  pick  you  up  to-night  for  Monsieur's  ball.  He  expressly 
asked  me  to  bring  you." 

"  I  know  well  whom  I  have  to  thank  for  so  much  kindness," 
answered  Julien  bowing  to  the  ground. 

His  bad  temper,  being  unable  to  find  anything  to  lay  hold 
of  in  the  polite  and  almost  sympathetic  tone  in  which  Norbert 
had  spoken  to  him,  set  itself  to  work  on  the  answer  he  had 
made  to  that  courteous  invitation.  He  detected  in  it  a  trace 
of  subservience. 

When  he  arrived  at  the  ball  in  the  evening,  he  was  struck 
with  the  magnificence  of  the  Hotel  de  Retz.  The  courtyard 
at  the  entrance  was  covered  with  an  immense  tent  of  crimson 
with  golden  stars.  Nothing  could  have  been  more  elegant. 
Beyond  the  [tent,  the  court  had  been  transformed  into  a  wood 
of  orange  trees  and  of  pink  laurels  in  full  flower.  As  they  had 
been  careful  to  bury  the  vases  sufficiently  deep,  the  laurel  trees 
and  the  orange  trees  appeared  to  come  straight  out  of  the 
ground.      The  road  which  the  carriages  traversed  was  sanded. 

All  this  seemed  extraordinary  to  our  provincial.  He  had 
never  had  any  idea  of  such  magnificence.  In  a  single  instant 
his  thrilled  imagination  had  left  his  bad  temper  a  thousand 
leagues  behind.  In  the  carriage  on  their  way  to  the  ball 
Norbert  had  been  happy,  while  he  saw  everything  in  black 
colours.  They  had  scarcely  entered  the  courtyard  before  the 
r61es  changed. 

Norbert  was  only  struck  by  a  few  details  which,  in  the  midst 
of  all  that  magnificence,  had  not  been  able  to  be  attended  to. 
He  calculated  the  expense  of  each  item,  and  Julien  remarked 

19 


29o       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

that  the  nearer  he  got  to  a  sum  total,  the  more  jealous  and 
bad-tempered  he  appeared. 

As  for  himself,  he  was  fascinated  and  full  of  admiration  when 
he  reached  the  first  of  the  salons  where  they  were  dancing. 
His  emotion  was  so  great  that  it  almost  made  him  nervous. 
There  was  a  crush  at  the  door  of  the  second  salon,  and  the 
crowd  was  so  great  that  he  found  it  impossible  to  advance. 
The  decorations  of  the  second  salon  presented  the  Alhambra 
of  Grenada. 

"That's  the  queen  of  the  ball  one  must  admit,"  said  a 
young  man  with  a  moustache  whose  shoulder  stuck  into 
Julien's  chest. 

"  Mademoiselle  Formant  who  has  been  the  prettiest  all  the 
winter,  realises  that  she  will  have  to  go  down  to  the  second 
place.     See  how  strange  she  looks." 

"  In  truth  she  is  straining  every  nerve  to  please.  Just  look 
at  that  gracious  smile  now  that  she  is  doing  the  figure  in  that 
quadrille  all  alone.     On  my  honour  it  is  unique." 

"  Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  looks  as  if  she  controlled  the 
pleasure  which  she  derives  from  her  triumph,  of  which  she  is 
perfectly  conscious.  One  might  say  that  she  fears  to  please 
anyone  who  talks  to  her." 

"  Very  good.     That  is  the  art  of  alluring." 

Julien  vainly  endeavoured  to  catch  sight  of  the  alluring 
woman.  Seven  or  eight  men  who  were  taller  than  he  pre- 
vented him  from  seeing  her. 

"  There  is  quite  a  lot  of  coquetry  in  that  noble  reserve," 
said  the  young  man  with  a  moustache. 

"  And  in  those  big  blue  eyes,  which  are  lowered  so  slowly 
when  one  would  think  they  were  on  the  point  of  betraying 
themselves,"  answered  his  neighbour.  "  On  my  faith,  nothing 
could  be  cleverer." 

"See  the  pretty  Formant  looking  quite  common  next  to 
her,"  said  the  first. 

"That  air  of  reserve  means  how  much  sweetness  would  I 
spend  on  you  if  you  were  the  man  who  was  worthy  of  me." 

"  And  who  could  be  worthy  of  the  sublime  Mathilde,"  said 
the  first  man.  "  Some  sovereign  prince,  handsome,  witty, 
well-made,  a  hero  in  war,  and  twenty  years  old  at  the  most." 

"The  natural  son  of  the  Emperor  of  Russia  ....  who 
would  be  made  a  sovereign  in  honour  of  his  marriage,  or  quite 


WHICH  DECORATION  DISTINGUISHES?     291 

simply  the  comte   de   Thaler,    who   looks  like  a   dressed-up 
peasant." 

The  door  was  free,  and  Julien  could  go  in. 

"  Since  these  puppets  consider  her  so  remarkable,  it  is  worth 
while  for  me  to  study  her,"  he  thought.  "  I  shall  then  under- 
stand what  these  people  regard  as  perfection." 

As  his  eyes  were  trying  to  find  her,  Mathilde  looked  at  him. 
"  My  duty  calls  me,"  said  Julien  to  himself.  But  it  was  only 
his  expression  which  was  bad-humoured. 

His  curiosity  made  him  advance  with  a  pleasure  which  the 
extremely  low  cut  dress  on  Mathilde's  shoulder  very  quickly 
accentuated,  in  a  manner  which  was  scarcely  flattering  for  his 
own  self-respect.  "  Her  beauty  has  youth,"  he  thought.  Five 
or  six  people,  whom  Julien  recognised  as  those  who  had  been 
speaking  at  the  door  were  between  her  and  him. 

"  Now,  Monsieur,  you  have  been  here  all  the  winter,"  she  said 
to  him.  "  Is  it  not  true  that  this  is  the  finest  ball  of  the 
season  " 

He  did  not  answer. 

"This  quadrille  of  Coulon's  strikes  me  as  admirable,  and 
those  ladies  dance  it  perfectly."  The  young  men  turned 
round  to  see  who  was  the  happy  man,  an  answer  from  whom 
was  positively  insisted  on.     The  answer  was  not  encouraging. 

"  I  shall  not  be  able  to  be  a  good  judge,  mademoiselle,  I 
pass  my  life  in  writing.  This  is  the  first  ball  of  this  magnifi- 
cence which  I  have  ever  seen." 

The  young  men  with  moustaches  were  scandalised. 

"You  are  a  wise  man,  Monsieur  Sorel,"  came  the  answer 
with  a  more  marked  interest.  "  You  look  upon  all  these  balls, 
all  these  festivities,  like  a  philosopher,  like  J.  J.  Rousseau. 
All  these  follies  astonish  without  alluring  you." 

Julien's  imagination  had  just  hit  upon  an  epigram  which 
banished  all  illusions  from  his  mind.  His  mouth  assumed  the 
expression  of  a  perhaps  slightly  exaggerated  disdain. 

"  J.  J.  Rousseau,"  he  answered,  "  is  in  my  view  only  a  fool 
when  he  takes  it  upon  himself  to  criticise  society.  He  did 
not  understand  it,  and  he  went  into  it  with  the  spirit  of  a 
lackey  who  has  risen  above  his  station." 

"  He  wrote  the  Contrat  Social"  answered  Mathilde 
reverently. 

"While  he  preaches   the  Republic,    and  the  overthrow  of 


292       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

monarchical  dignities,  the  parvenu  was  intoxicated  with  hap- 
piness if  a  duke  would  go  out  of  his  way  after  dinner  to 
one  of  his  friends." 

"  Oh  yes,  the  Duke  of  Luxembourg  at  Montmorency,  used 
to  accompany  a  Coindet  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Paris," 
went  on  Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole,  with  all  the  pleasure  and 
enthusiasm  of  her  first  flush  of  pedantry.  She  was  intoxicated 
with  her  knowledge,  almost  like  the  academican  who  dis- 
covered the  existence  of  King  Feretrius. 

Julien's  look  was  still  penetrating  and  severe.  Mathilde 
had  had  a  moment's  enthusiasm.  Her  partner's  coldness 
disconcerted  her  profoundly.  She  was  all  the  more  astonished, 
as  it  was  she  who  was  accustomed  to  produce  that  particular 
effect  on  others. 

At  this  moment  the  marquis  de  Croisenois  was  advancing 
eagerly  towards  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole.  He  was  for  a 
moment  three  yards  away  from  her.  He  was  unable  to  get 
closer  because  of  the  crowd.  He  smiled  at  the  obstacle. 
The  young  marquise  de  Rouvray  was  near  her.  She  was  a 
cousin  of  Mathilde.  She  was  giving  her  arm  to  her  husband 
who  had  only  married  her  a  fortnight  ago.  The  marquis  de 
Rouvray,  who  was  also  very  young,  had  all  the  love  which 
seizes  a  man  who,  having  contracted  a  marriage  of  convenience 
exclusively  arranged  by  the  notaries,  finds  a  person  who  is 
ideally  pretty.  M.  de  Rouvray  would  be  a  duke  on  the  death 
of  a  very  old  uncle. 

While  the  marquis  de  Croisenois  was  struggling  to  get 
through  the  crowd,  and  smiling  at  Mathilde  she  fixed  her  big 
divinely  blue  eyes  on  him  and  his  neighbours.  "  Could 
anything  be  flatter,"  she  said  to  herself.  "  There  is  Croisenois 
who  wants  to  marry  me,  he  is  gentle  and  polite,  he  has  perfect 
manners  like  M.  de  Rouvray.  If  they  did  not  bore,  those 
gentlemen  would  be  quite  charming.  He  too,  would  ac- 
company me  to  the  ball  with  that  smug  limited  expression. 
One  year  after  the  marriage  I  shall  have  my  carriage,  my 
horses,  my  dresses,  my  chateau  twenty  leagues  from  Paris. 
All  this  would  be  as  nice  as  possible,  and  enough  to  make  a 
Countess  de  Roiville,  for  example,  die  of  envy  and  afterwards — " 

Mathilde  bored  herself  in  anticipation.  The  marquis  de 
Croisenois  managed  to  approach  her  and  spoke  to  her,  but 
she  was  dreaming  and  did  not  listen  to  him.     The  noise  of 


WHICH  DECORATION  DISTINGUISHES?     293 

his  words  began  to  get  mixed  with  the  buzz  of  the  ball. 
Her  eye  mechanically  followed  Julien  who  had  gone  away, 
with  an  air  which,  though  respectful,  was  yet  proud  and 
discontented.  She  noticed  in  a  corner  far  from  the  moving 
crowd,  the  comte  Altamira  who  had  been  condemned  to 
death  in  his  own  country  and  whom  the  reader  knows  already. 
One  of  his  relatives  had  manied  a  Prince  de  Conti  in  the 
reign  of  Louis  XIV.  This  historical  fact  was  some  protection 
against  the  police  of  the  congregation. 

"  I  think  being  condemned  to  death  is  the  only  real 
distinction,"  said  Mathilde.  "  It  is  the  only  thing  which 
cannot  be  bought." 

"Why,  that's  an  epigram,  I  just  said,  what  a  pity  it  did 
not  come  at  a  moment  when  I  could  have  reaped  all  the 
credit  for  it."  Mathilde  had  too  much  taste  to  work  into  the 
conversation  a  prepared  epigram  but  at  the  same  time  she  was 
too  vain  not  to  be  extremely  pleased  with  herself.  A  happy 
expression  succeeded  the  palpable  boredom  of  her  face.  The 
marquis  de  Croisenois,  who  had  never  left  off  talking,  saw  a 
chance  of  success  and  waxed  twice  as  eloquent. 

"  What  objection  could  a  caviller  find  with  my  epigram," 
said  Mathilde  to  herself.  "  I  would  answer  my  critic  in  this 
way :  The  title  of  baron  or  vicomte  is  to  be  bought ;  a 
cross,  why  it  is  a  gift.  My  brother  has  just  got  one.  What 
has  he  done?  A  promotion,  why  that  can  be  obtained  by 
being  ten  years  in  a  garrison  or  have  the  minister  of  war  for 
a  relative,  and  you'll  be  a  chief  of  a  squadron  like  Norbert. 
A  great  fortune !  That's  rather  more  difficult,  and  conse- 
quently more  meritorious.  It  is  really  quite  funny.  It's  the 
opposite  of  what  the  books  say.  Well,  to  win  a  fortune  why  you 
marry  M.  Rothschild's  daughter.  Really  my  epigram  is  quite 
deep.  Being  condemned  to  death  is  still  the  one  privilege 
which  one  has  never  thought  of  canvassing." 

"  Do  you  know  the  comte  Altamira,"  she  said  to  M.  de 
Croisenois. 

Her  thoughts  seemed  to  have  been  so  far  away,  and  this 
question  had  so  little  connection  with  all  that  the  poor 
marquis  had  been  saying  for  the  last  five  minutes,  that  his 
good  temper  was  ruffled.  He  was  nevertheless  a  man  of 
wit  and  celebrated  for  being  so. 

"  Mathilde  is  eccentric,"  he  thought,  "  that's  a  nuisance, 


294       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

but  she  will  give  her  husband  such  a  fine  social  position.  I 
don't  know  how  the  marquis  de  la  Mole  manages.  He  is 
connected  with  all  that  is  best  in  all  parties.  He  is  a  man 
who  is  bound  to  come  out  on  top.  And,  besides,  this  ec- 
centricity of  Mathilde's  may  pass  for  genius.  Genius  when 
allied  with  good  birth  an  1  a  large  fortune,  so  far  from  being 
ridiculous,  is  highly  distinguished.  She  has  wit,  moreover, 
when  she  wants  to,  that  mixture  in  fact  of  brains,  character, 
and  ready  wit  which  constitute  perfection." 

As  it  is  difficult  to  do  two  things  at  the  same  time,  the 
marquis  answered  Mathilde  with  a  vacant  expression  as 
though  he  were  reciting  a  lesson. 

"  Who  does  not  know  that  poor  Altamira  ? "  and  he  told 
her  the  history  of  his  conspiracy,  abortive,  ridiculous  and 
absurd. 

"  Very  absurd,"  said  Mathilde  as  if  she  were  talking  to 
herself,  "  but  he  has  done  something.  I  want  to  see  a  man ; 
bring  him  to  me,"  she  said  to  the  scandalized  marquis. 

Comte  Altamira  was  one  of  the  most  avowed  admirers  of 
mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's  haughty  and  impertinent  manner. 
In  his  opinion  she  was  one  of  the  most  beautiful  persons  in  Paris. 

"  How  fine  she  would  be  on  a  throne,"  he  said  to  M.  de 
Croisenois;  and  made  no  demur  at  being  taken  up  to  Mathilde. 

There  are  a  good  number  of  people  in  society  who  would 
like  to  establish  the  fact  that  nothing  is  in  such  bad  form  as  a 
conspiracy- in  the  nineteenth  century;  it  smacks  of  Jaco- 
binism. And  what  could  be  more  sordid  than  unsuccessful 
Jacobinism. 

Mathilde's  expression  made  fun  a  little  of  Altamira  and 
M.  de  Croisenois,  but  she  listened  to  him  with  pleasure. 

"  A  conspirator  at  a  ball,  what  a  pretty  contrast,"  she  thought. 
She  thought  that  this  man  with  his  black  moustache  looked 
like  a  lion  at  rest,  but  she  soon  perceived  that  his  mind  had 
only  one  point  of  view  :  utility,  admiration  for  utility. 

The  young  comte  thought  nothing  worthy  his  attention 
except  what  tended  to  give  his  country  two  chamber  govern- 
ment. He  left  Mathilde,  who  was  the  prettiest  person  at 
the  ball,  with  alacrity,  because  he  saw  a  Peruvian  general 
come  in.  Desparing  of  Europe  such  as  M.  de  Metternich 
had  arranged  it,  poor  Altamira  had  been  reduced  to  thinking 
that  when  the  States  of  South  America  had  become  strong 


♦VHICH  DECORATION  DISTINGUISHES?     295 

and  powerful  they  could  restore  to  Europe  the  liberty  which 
Mirabeau  has  given  it. 

A  crowd  of  moustachised  young  men  had  approached 
Mathilde.  She  realized  that  Altamira  had  not  felt  allured, 
and  was  piqued  by  his  departure.  She  saw  his  black  eye 
gleam  as  he  talked  to  the  Peruvian  general.  Mademoiselle 
de  la  Mole  looked  at  the  young  Frenchmen  with  that 
profound  seriousness  which  none  of  her  arrivals  could  imitate, 
"  which  of  them,"  she  thought,  "  could  get  himself  condemned 
to  death,  even  supposing  he  had  a  favourable  opportunity  ? " 

This  singular  look  flattered  those  who  were  not  very 
intelligent,  but  disconcerted  the  others.  They  feared  the 
discharge  of  some  stinging  epigram  that  would  be  difficult 
to  answer. 

"  Good  birth  vouchsafes  a  hundred  qualities  whose  absence 
would  offend  me.  I  see  as  much  in  the  case  of  Julien,"  thought 
Mathilde,  "  but  it  withers  up  those  qualities  of  soul  which  make 
a  man  get  condemned  to  death." 

At  that  moment  some  one  was  saying  near  her :  "  Comte 
Altamara  is  the  second  son  of  the  Prince  of  San  Nazaro- 
Pimentel;  it  was  a  Pimentel  who  tried  to  save  Conradin, 
was  beheaded  in  1268.  It  is  one  of  the  noblest  families  in 
Naples." 

"  So,"  said  Mathilde  to  herself,  "  what  a  pretty  proof  this  is 
of  my  maxim,  that  good  birth  deprives  a  man  of  that  force  of 
character  in  default  of  which  a  man  does  not  get  condemned 
to  death.  I  seem  doomed  to  reason  falsely  to-night.  Since 
I  am  only  a  woman  like  any  other,  well  I  must  dance."  She 
yielded  to  the  solicitations  of  M.  de  Croisenois  who  had  been 
asking  for  a  gallop  for  the  last  hour.  To  distract  herself 
from  her  failure  in  philosophy,  Mathilde  made  a  point  of 
being  perfectly  fascinating.  M.  de  Croisenois  was  enchanted. 
But  neither  the  dance  nor  her  wish  to  please  one  of  the 
handsomest  men  at  court,  nor  anything  at  all,  succeeded  in 
distracting  Mathilde.  She  could  not  possibly  have  been  more 
of  a  success.  She  was  the  queen  of  the  ball.  She  coldly 
appreciated  the  fact. 

"What  a  blank  life  I  shall  pass  with  a  person  like 
Croisenois,"  she  said  to  herself  as  he  took  her  back  to  her 
place  an  hour  afterwards.  "  What  pleasure  do  I  get,"  she 
added  sadly,  "  if  after  an  absence  of  six  months  I  find  myself 


296       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

at  a  ball  which  all  the  women  of  Paris  were  mad  with  jealousy 
to  go  to  ?  And  what  is  more  I  am  surrounded  by  the  homage 
of  an  ideally  constituted  circle  of  society.  The  only  bourgeois 
are  some  peers  and  perhaps  one  or  two  Juliens.  And  yet," 
she  added  with  increasing  sadness,  "  what  advantages  has  not 
fate  bestowed  upon  me  !  Distinction,  fortune,  youth,  every- 
thing except  happiness.  My  most  dubious  advantages  are  the 
very  ones  they  have  been  speaking  to  me  about  all  the'evening. 
Wit,  I  believe  I  have  it,  because  I  obviously  frighten  every- 
one. If  they  venture  to  tackle  a  serious  subject,  they  will 
arrive  after  five  minutes  of  conversation  and  as  though  they 
had  made  a  great  discovery  at  a  conclusion  which  we  have 
been  repeating  to  them  for  the  last  hour.  I  am  beautiful,  I 
have  that  advantage  for  which  madame  de  Stael  would  have 
sacrificed  everything,  and  yet  I'm  dying  of  boredom.  Shall  I 
have  reason  to  be  less  bored  when  I  have  changed  my  name 
for  that  of  the  marquis  de  Croisenois  ? 

"  My  God  though,"  she  added,  while  she  almost  felt  as  if 
she  would  like  to  cry,  "  isn't  he  really  quite  perfect  ?  He's  a 
paragon  of  the  education  of  the  age ;  you  can't  look  at  him 
without  his  finding  something  charming  and  even  witty  to  say 
to  you;  he  is  brave.  But  that  Sorel  is  strange,"  she  said 
to  herself,  and  the  expression  of  her  eyes  changed  from 
melancholy  to  anger.  "  I  told  him  that  I  had  something  to 
say  to  him  and  he  hasn't  deigned  to  reappear." 


CHAPTER  XXXIX 


THE    BALL 


The  luxurious  dresses,  the  glitter  of  the  candles ; 
all  those  pretty  arms  and  fine  shoulders  ;  the  bouquets, 
the  intoxicating  strains  of  Rossini,  the  paintings  of 
Ciceri.       I  am  beside  myself.  —Journeys  of  Useri. 

"  You  are  in  a  bad  temper,"  said  the  marquise  de  la  Mole  to 
her ;  "  let  me  caution  you,  it  is  ungracious  at  a  ball." 

"  I  only  have  a  headache,"  answered  Mathilde  disdainfully, 
"  it  is  too  hot  here." 

At  this  moment  the  old  Baron  Tolly  became  ill  and  fell 
down,  as  though  to  justify  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's  remark. 
They  were  obliged  to  carry  him  away.  They  talked  about 
apoplexy.     It  was  a  disagreeable  incident. 

Mathilde  did  not  bother  much  about  it. 

She  made  a  point  of  never  looking  at  old  men,  or  at  anyone 
who  had  the  reputation  of  being  bad  company. 

She  danced  in  order  to  escape  the  conversation  about  the 
apoplexy,  which  was  not  apoplexy  inasmuch  as  the  baron  put 
in  an  appearance  the  following  day. 

"  But  Sorel  does  not  come,"  she  said  to  herself  after  she 
had  danced.  She  was  almost  looking  round  for  him  when 
she  found  him  in  another  salon.  Astonishing,  but  he  seemed 
to  have  lost  that  impassive  coldness  that  was  so  natural  to 
him  ;  he  no  longer  looked  English. 

"  He  is  talking  to  comte  Altamira  who  was  sentenced  to 
death,"  said  Mathilde  to  herself.  "  His  eye  is  full  of  a  sombre 
fire ;  he  looks  like  a  prince  in  disguise ;  his  haughtiness  has 
become  twice  as  pronounced." 

Julien  came  back  to  where  she  was,  still  talking  to  Altamira. 
She  looked  at  Altamira  fixedly,  studying  his  features  in  order 


298      THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

to  trace  those  lofty  qualities  which  can  earn  a  man  the  honour 
of  being  condemned  to  death. 

"  Yes,"  he  was  saying  to  comte  Altamira  as  he  passed  by 
her,  "  Danton  was  a  real  man." 

"  Heavens  can  he  be  a  Danton  ?  "  said  Mathilde  to  herself, 
"  but  he  has  so  noble  a  face,  and  that  Danton  was  so  horribly 
ugly,  a  butcher  I  believe."  Julien  was  still  fairly  near  her. 
She  did  not  hesitate  to  call  him ;  she  had  the  consciousness 
and  the  pride  of  putting  a  question  that  was  unusual  for  a 
young  girl. 

"  Was  not  Danton  a  butcher  ?  "  she  said  to  him. 
"  Yes,  in  the  eyes  of  certain  persons,"  Julien  answered  her 
with  the  most  thinly  disguised  expression  of  contempt.  His 
eyes  were  still  ardent  from  his  conversation  with  Altamira, 
"  but  unfortunately  for  the  people  of  good  birth  he  was  an 
advocate  at  Mery-sur-Seine,  that  is  to  say,  mademoiselle,"  he 
added  maliciously,  "  he  began  like  many  peers  whom  I  see 
here.  It  was  true  that  Danton  laboured  under  a  great  dis- 
advantage in  the  eyes  of  beauty  ;  he  was  ugly." 

These  last  few  words  were  spoken  rapidly  in  an  extra- 
ordinary and  indeed  very  discourteous  manner." 

Julien  waited  for  a  moment,  leaning  slightly  forward  and 
with  an  air  of  proud  humility.  He  seemed  to  be  saying,  "  I 
am  paid  to  answer  you  and  I  live  on  my  pay."  He  did  not 
deign  to  look  up  at  Mathilde.  She  looked  like  his  slave  with 
her  fine  eyes  open  abnormally  wide  and  fixed  on  him. 
Finally  as  the  silence  continued  he  looked  at  her,  like  a 
valet  looking  at  his  master  to  receive  orders.  Although  his 
eyes  met  the  full  gaze  of  Mathilde  which  were  fixed  on  him  all 
the  time  with  a  strange  expression,  he  went  away  with  a 
marked  eagerness. 

"  To  think  of  a  man  who  is  as  handsome  as  he  is,"  said 
Mathilde  to  herself  as  she  emerged  from  her  reverie,  "  praising 
ugliness  in  such  a  way,  he  is  not  like  Caylus  or  Croisenois. 
This  Sorel  has  something  like  my  father's  look  when  he  goes 
to  a  fancy  dress  ball  as  Napoleon."  She  had  completely 
forgotten  Danton.  "Yes,  I  am  decidedly  bored  tonight." 
She  took  her  brother's  arm  and  to  his  great  disgust  made  him 
take  her  round  the  ball-room.  The  idea  occurred  to  her  of 
following  the  conversation  between  Julien  and  the  man  who 
had  been  condemned  to  death. 


THE  BALL  299 

The  crowd  was  enormous.  She  managed  to  find  them, 
however,  at  the  moment  when  two  yards  in  front  of  her 
Altamira  was  going  near  a  dumb-waiter  to  take  an  ice.  He 
was  talking  to  Julien  with  his  body  half  turned  round.  He 
saw  an  arm  in  an  embroidered  coat  which  was  taking  an  ice 
close  by.  The  embroidery  seemed  to  attract  his  attention. 
He  turned  round  to  look  at  the  person  to  whom  the  arm 
belonged.  His  noble  and  yet  simple  eyes  immediately 
assumed  a  slightly  disdainful  expression. 

"  You  see  that  man,"  he  said  to  Julien  in  a  low  voice ; 

"  that  is  the  Prince  of  Araceli  Ambassador  of He 

asked  M.  de  Nerval,  your  Minister  for  Foreign  Affairs,  for  my 
extradition  this  morning.  See,  there  he  is  over  there  playing 
whist.  Monsieur  de  Nerval  is  willing  enough  to  give  me  up, 
for  we  gave  up  two  or  three  conspirators  to  you  in  18 16.  If 
I  am  given  up  to  my  king  I  shall  be  hanged  in  twenty-four 
hours.  It  will  be  one  of  those  handsome  moustachioed 
gentlemen  who  will  arrest  me." 

"  The  wretches  ! "  exclaimed  Julien  half  aloud. 

Mathilde  did  not  lose  a  syllable  of  their  conversation.  Her 
ennui  had  vanished. 

"  They  are  not  scoundrels,"  replied  Count  Altamira.  "  I 
talk  to  you  about  myself  in  order  to  give  you  a  vivid  impression. 
Look  at  the  Prince  of  Araceli.  He  casts  his  eyes  on  his 
golden  fleece  every  five  minutes ;  he  cannot  get  over  the 
pleasure  of  seeing  that  decoration  on  his  breast.  In  reality 
the  poor  man  is  really  an  anachronism.  The  fleece  was  a 
signal  honour  a  hundred  years  ago,  but  he  would  have  been 
nowhere  near  it  in  those  days.  But  nowadays,  so  far  as 
people  of  birth  are  concerned,  you  have  to  be  an  Araceli  to 
be  delighted  with  it.  He  had  a  whole  town  hanged  in  order 
to  get  it." 

"Is  that  the  price  he  had  to  pay?"  said  Julien  anxiously. 

"  Not  exactly,"  answered  Altamira  coldly,  "  he  probably  had 
about  thirty  rich  landed  proprietors  in  his  district  who  had  the 
reputation  of  being  Liberals  thrown  into  the  river." 

"  What  a  monster  !  "  pursued  Julien. 

Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  who  was  leaning  her  head  forward 
with  keenest  interest  was  so  near  him  that  her  beautiful  hair 
almost  touched  his  shoulder. 

"  You  are  very  young,"  answered  Altamira.     "  I  was  telling 


306       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

you  that  I  had  a  married  sister  in  Provence.  She  is  still 
pretty,  good  and  gentle ;  she  is  an  excellent  mother,  performs 
all  her  duties  faithfully,  is  pious  but  not  a  bigot." 

"  What  is  he  driving  at  ?  "  thought  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole. 

"  She  is  happy,"  continued  the  comte  Altamira ;  "  she  was  so 
in  1815.  I  was  then  in  hiding  at  her  house  on  her  estate  near 
d'Antibos.  Well  the  moment  she  learnt  of  marshall  Ney's 
execution  she  began  to  dance." 

"  Is  it  possible  ?  "  said  Julien,  thunderstruck. 

"  It's  party  spirit,"  replied  Altamira.  "  There  are  no  longer 
any  real  passions  in  the  nineteenth  century  :  that's  why  one 
is  so  bored  in  France.  People  commit  acts  of  the  greatest 
cruelty,  but  without  any  feeling  of  cruelty." 

"  So  much  the  worse,"  said  Julien,  "  when  one  does  commit 
a  crime  one  ought  at  least  to  take  pleasure  in  committing  it; 
that's  the  only  good  thing  they  have  about  them  and  that's  the 
only  way  in  which  they  have  the  slightest  justification." 

Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  had  entirely  forgotten  what  she 
owed  to  herself  and  placed  herself  completely  between  Altamira 
and  Julien.  Her  brother,  who  was  giving  her  his  arm,  and 
was  accustomed  to  obey  her,  was  looking  at  another  part  of 
the  room,  and  in  order  to  keep  himself  in  countenance  was 
pretending  to  be  stopped  by  the  crowd. 

"You  are  right,"  Altamira  went  on,  "one  takes  pleasure  in 
nothing  one  does,  and  one  does  not  remember  it :  this  applies 
even  to  crimes.  I  can  show  you  perhaps  ten  men  in  this 
ballroom  who  have  been  convicted  of  murder.  They  have 
forgotten  all  about  it  and  everybody  else  as  well." 

"  Many  are  moved  to  the  point  of  tears  if  their  dog  breaks 
a  paw.  When  you  throw  flowers  on  their  grave  at  Pere-la- 
Chaise,  as  you  say  so  humorously  in  Paris,  we  learn  they 
united  all  the  virtues  of  the  knights  of  chivalry,  and  we  speak 
about  the  noble  feats  of  their  great-grandfather  who  lived  in  the 
reign  of  Henri  IV.  If,  in  spite  of  the  good  offices  of  the 
Prince  de  Araceli,  I  escape  hanging  and  I  ever  manage  to  enjoy 
the  use  of  my  money  in  Paris,  I  will  get  you  to  dine  with 
eight  or  ten  of  these  respected  and  callous  murderers. 

"  At  that  dinner  you  and  I  will  be  the  only  ones  whose 
blood  is  pure,  but  I  shall  be  despised  and  almost  hated  as  a 
monster,  while  you  will  be  simply  despised  as  a  man  of  the 
people  who  has  pushed  his  way  into  good  society." 


THE  BALL  301 

"  Nothing  could  be  truer,"  said  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole. 

Altamira  looked  at  her  in  astonishment ;  but  Julien  did  not 
deign  to  look  at  her. 

"  Observe  that  the  revolution,  at  whose  head  I  found 
myself,"  continued  the  comte  Altamira,  "  only  failed  for  the 
one  reason  that  I  would  not  cut  off  three  heads  and  distribute 
among  our  partisans  seven  or  eight  millions  which  happened 
to  be  in  a  box  of  which  I  happened  to  have  the  key.  My 
king,  who  is  burning  to  have  me  hanged  to-day,  and  who  called 
me  by  my  christian  name  before  the  rebellion,  would  have 
given  me  the  great  ribbon  of  his  order  if  I  had  had  those  three 
heads  cut  off  and  had  had  the  money  in  those  boxes  dis- 
tributed; for  I  should  have  had  at  least  a  semi-success  and 

my  country  would  have  had  a  charta  like So  wags  the 

world  ;  it's  a  game  of  chess." 

"  At  that  time,"  answered  Julien  with  a  fiery  eye,  "  you  did 
not  know  the  game ;  now  .  .  ." 

"  You  mean  I  would  have  the  heads  cut  off,  and  I  would 
not  be  a  Girondin,  as  you  said  I  was  the  other  day  ?  I  will 
give  you  your  answer,"  said  Altamira  sadly,  "  when  you  have 
killed  a  man  in  a  duel — a  far  less  ugly  matter  than  having  him 
put  to  death  by  an  executioner." 

"  Upon  my  word,"  said  Julien,  "  the  end  justifies  the  means. 
If  instead  of  being  an  insignificant  man  I  had  some  power  I 
would  have  three  men  hanged  in  order  to  save  four  men's 
lives." 

His  eyes  expressed  the  fire  of  his  own  conscience ;  they  met 
the  eyes  of  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  who  was  close  by  him, 
and  their  contempt,  so  far  from  changing  into  politeness 
seemed  to  redouble. 

She  was  deeply  shocked;  but  she  found  herself  unable  to 
forget  Julien ;  she  dragged  her  brother  away  and  went  off  in 
a  temper. 

"  I  must  take  some  punch  and  dance  a  lot,"  she  said  to 
herself.  "  I  will  pick  out  the  best  partner  and  cut  some 
figure  at  any  price.  Good,  there  is  that  celebrated  cynic,  the 
comte  de  Fervaques."  She  accepted  his  invitation ;  they 
danced.  "  The  question  is,"  she  thought,  "  which  of  us  two 
will  be  the  more  impertinent,  but  in  order  to  make  absolute 
fun  of  him,  I  must  get  him  to  talk."  Soon  all  the  other 
members  of  the  quadrille  were  dancing  as  a  matter  of  formality, 


3o2  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

they  did  not  want  to  lose  any  of  Mathilde's  cutting  reparte. 
M.  de  Fervaques  felt  uneasy  and  as  he  could  only  find  elegant 
expressions  instead  of  ideas,  began  to  scowl.  Mathilde,  who 
was  in  a  bad  temper  was  cruel,  and  made  an  enemy  of  him. 
She  danced  till  daylight  and  then  went  home  terribly  tired. 
But  when  she  was  in  the  carriage  the  little  vitality  she  had  left, 
was  still  employed  in  making  her  sad  and  unhappy.  She  had 
been  despised  by  Julien  and  could  not  despise  him. 

Julien  was  at  the  zenith  of  his  happiness.  He  was  enchanted 
without  his  knowing  it  by  the  music,  the  flowers,  the  pretty 
women,  the  general  elegance,  and  above  all  by  his  own 
imagination  which  dreamt  of  distinctions  for  himself  and  of 
liberty  for  all. 

"  What  a  fine  ball,"  he  said  to  the  comte.  "  Nothing  is 
lacking." 

"  Thought  is  lacking "  answered  Altamira,  and  his  face 
betrayed  that  contempt  which  is  only  more  deadly  from  the 
very  fact  that  a  manifest  effort  is  being  made  to  hide  it  as  a 
matter  of  politeness. 

"  You  are  right,  monsieur  the  comte,  there  isn't  any  thought 
at  all,  let  alone  enough  to  make  a  conspiracy." 

"  I  am  here  because  of  my  name,  but  thought  is  hated  in 
your  salons.  Thought  must  not  soar  above  the  level  of  the 
point  of  a  Vaudeville  couplet :  it  is  then  rewarded.  But  as 
for  your  man  who  thinks,  if  he  shows  energy  and  originality 
we  call  him  a  cynic.  Was  not  that  name  given  by  one  of  your 
judges  to  Courier.  You  put  him  in  prison  as  well  as  Berenger. 
The  priestly  congregation  hands  over  to  the  police  everyone 
who  is  worth  anything  amongst  you  individually;  and  good 
society  applauds. 

"  The  fact  is  your  effete  society  prizes  conventionalism  above 
everything  else.  You  will  never  get  beyond  military  bravery. 
You  will  have  Murats,  never  Washingtons.  I  can  see  nothing 
in  France  except  vanity.  A  man  who  goes  on  speaking  on 
the  spur  of  the  moment  may  easily  come  to  make  an  im- 
prudent witticism  and  the  master  of  the  house  thinks  himself 
insulted." 

As  he  was  saying  this,  the  carriage  in  which  the  comte  was 
seeing  Julien  home  stopped  before  the  hdtel  de  la  Mole. 
Julien  was  in  love  with  his  conspirator.  Altamira  had  paid 
him  this  great  compliment  which  was  evidently  the  expression 


THE  BALL  303 

of  a  sound  conviction.  "  You  have  not  got  the  French 
flippancy  and  you  understand  the  principle  of  utility."  It 
happened  that  Julien  had  seen  the  day  before  Marino  Faliero, 
a  tragedy,  by  Casmir  Delavigne. 

"  Has  not  Israel  Bertuccio  got  more  character  than  all  those 
noble  Venetians  ? "  said  our  rebellious  plebeian  to  himself, 
"and  yet  those  are  the  people  whose  nobility  goes  back  to 
the  year  seven  hundred,  a  century  before  Charlemagne,  while 
the  cream  of  the  nobility  at  M.  de  Ritz's  ball  to-night  only 
goes  back,  and  that  rather  lamely,  to  the  thirteenth  century. 
Well,  in  spite  of  all  the  noble  Venetians  whose  birth  makes 
so  great,  it  is  Israel  Bertuccio  whom  one  remembers. 

"  A  conspiracy  annihilates  all  titles  conferred  by  social 
caprice.  There,  a  man  takes  for  his  crest  the  rank  that  is 
given  him  by  the  way  in  which  he  faces  death.  The  intellect 
itself  loses  some  of  its  power. 

"  What  would  Danton  have  been  to-day  in  this  age  of  the 
Valenods  and  the  Renals  ?  Not  even  a  deputy  for  the 
Public  Prosecutor. 

"What  am  I  saying?  He  would  have  sold  himself  to 
the  priests,  he  would  have  been  a  minister,  for  after  all  the 
great  Danton  did  steal.  Mirabeau  also  sold  himself. 
Napoleon  stole  millions  in  Italy,  otherwise  he  would  have 
been  stopped  short  in  his  career  by  poverty  like  Pichegru. 
Only  La  Fayette  refrained  from  stealing.  Ought  one  to  steal, 
ought  one  to  sell  oneself?"  thought  Julien.  This  question 
pulled  him  up  short.  He  passed  the  rest  of  the  night  in 
reading  the  history  of  the  revolution. 

When  he  wrote  his  letters  in  the  library  the  following  day, 
his  mind  was  still  concentrated  on  his  conversation  with  count 
Altamira. 

"As  a  matter  of  fact,"  he  said  to  himself  after  a  long 
reverie,  "  If  the  Spanish  Liberals  had  not  injured  their  nation 
by  crimes  they  would  not  have  been  cleared  out  as  easily  as 
they  were. 

"They  were  haughty,  talkative  children — just  like  I  am!" 
he  suddenly  exclaimed  as  though  waking  up  with  a  start. 

"  What  difficulty  have  I  surmounted  that  entitles  me  to 
judge  such  devils  who,  once  alive,  dared  to  begin  to  act.  I 
am  like  a  man  who  exclaims  at  the  close  of  a  meal,  '  I  won't 
dine  to-morrow;  but  that  won't  prevent  me  from  feeling  as 


3o4       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

strong  and  merry  like  I  do  to-day.'  Who  knows  what  one 
feels  when  one  is  half-way  through  a  great  action  ?  " 

These  lofty  thoughts  were  disturbed  by  the  unexpected 
arrival  in  the  library  of  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole.  He  was 
so  animated  by  his  admiration  for  the  great  qualities  of  such 
invincibles  as  Danton,  Mirabeau,  and  Carnot  that,  though  he 
fixed  his  eyes  on  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole,  he  neither  gave 
her  a  thought  nor  bowed  to  her,  and  scarcely  even  saw  her. 
When  finally  his  big,  open  eyes  realized  her  presence,  their 
expression  vanished.  Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  noticed  it 
with  bitterness. 

It  was  in  vain  that  she  asked  him  for  Vely's  History  of 
France  which  was  on  the  highest  shelf,  and  thus  necessitated 
Julien  going  to  fetch  the  longer  of  the  two  ladders.  Julien 
had  brought  the  ladder  and  had  fetched  the  volume  and  given 
it  to  her,  but  had  not  yet  been  able  to  give  her  a  single  thought. 
As  he  was  taking  the  ladder  back  he  hit  in  his  hurry  one  of 
the  glass  panes  in  the  library  with  his  elbow ;  the  noise  of  the 
glass  falling  on  the  floor  finally  brought  him  to  himself.  He 
hastened  to  apologise  to  mademoiselle  de  la'  Mole.  He 
tried  to  be  polite  and  was  certainly  nothing  more.  Mathilde 
saw  clearly  that  she  had  disturbed  him,  and  that  he  would 
have  preferred  to  have  gone  on  thinking  about  what  he  had 
been  engrossed  in  before  her  arrival,  to  speaking  to  her. 
After  looking  at  him  for  some  time  she  went  slowly  away. 
Julien  watched  her  walk.  He  enjoyed  the  contrast  of  her 
present  dress  with  the  elegant  magnificence  of  the  previous 
night.  The  difference  between  the  two  expressions  was 
equally  striking.  The  young  girl  who  had  been  so  haughty  at 
the  Duke  de  Retz's  ball,  had,  at  the  present  moment,  an 
almost  plaintive  expression.  "  As  a  matter  of  fact,"  said 
Julien  to  himself,  "  that  black  dress  makes  the  beauty  of  her 
figure  all  the  more  striking.  She  has  a  queenly  carriage ; 
but  why  is  she  in  mourning  ?  " 

"  If  I  ask  someone  the  reason  for  this  mourning,  they  will 
think  I  am  putting  my  foot  in  it  again."  Julien  had  now  quite 
emerged  from  the  depth  of  his  enthusiasm.  "  I  must  read  over 
again  all  the  letters  I  have  written  this  morning.  God  knows 
how  many  missed  out  words  and  blunders  I  shall  find.  As 
he  was  forcing  himself  to  concentrate  his  mind  on  the  first 
of  these  letters  he  heard  the  rustle  of  a  silk  dress  near  him. 


THE  BALL  305 

He  suddenly  turned  round,  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  was  two 
yards  from  his  table,  she  was  smiling.  This  second 
interruption  put  Julien  into  a  bad  temper.  Mathilde  had 
just  fully  realized  that  she  meant  nothing  to  this  young  man. 
Her  smile  was  intended  to  hide  her  embarrassment;  she 
succeeded  in  doing  so. 

"  You  are  evidently  thinking  of  something  very  interesting, 
Monsieur  Sorel.  Is  it  not  some  curious  anecdote  about  that 
conspiracy  which  is  responsible  for  comte  Altamira  being  in 
Paris  ?  Tell  me  what  it  is  about,  I  am  burning  to  know.  I 
will  be  discreet,  I  swear  it."  She  was  astonished  at  hearing 
herself  utter  these  words.  What !  was  she  asking  a  favour  of 
an  inferior !  Her  embarrassment  increased,  and  she  added 
with  a  little  touch  of  flippancy, 

"What  has  managed  to  turn  such  a  usually  cold  person 
as  yourself,  into  an  inspired  being,  a  kind  of  Michael  Angelo 
prophet  ?  " 

This  sharp  and  indiscreet  question  wounded  Julien  deeply, 
and  rendered  him  madder  than  ever. 

"  Was  Danton  right  in  stealing  ?  "  he  said  to  her  brusquely 
in  a  manner  that  grew  more  and  more  surly.  "Ought  the 
revolutionaries  of  Piedmont  and  of  Spain  to  have  injured  the 
people  by  crimes  ?  To  have  given  all  the  places  in  the  army 
and  all  the  orders  to  undeserving  persons  ?  Would  not  the 
persons  who  wore  these  orders  have  feared  the  return  of  the 
king  ?  Ought  they  to  have  allowed  the  treasure  of  Turin  to 
be  looted  ?  In  a  word,  mademoiselle,"  he  said,  coming  near 
her  with  a  terrifying  expression,  "  ought  the  man  who  wishes 
to  chase  ignorance  and  crime  from  the  world  to  pass  like  the 
whirlwind  and  do  evil  indiscriminately  ?  " 

Mathilde  felt  frightened,  was  unable  to  stand  his  look,  and 
retreated  a  couples  of  paces.  She  looked  at  him  a  moment, 
and  then  ashamed  of  her  own  fear,  left  the  library  with  a  light 
step. 


?o 


CHAPTER  XL 


QUEEN     MARGUERITE 


Love  !  In  what  madness  do  you  not  manage  to  make  us  find  pleasure  ! 

Letters  of  a  Portuguese  Nun. 

Julien  reread  his  letters.  "  How  ridiculous  I  must  have 
appeared  in  the  eyes  of  that  Parisian  doll,"  he  said  to  himself 
when  the  dinner-bell  rang.  "  How  foolish  to  have  really  told 
her  what  I  was  thinking  !  Perhaps  it  was  not  so  foolish. 
Telling  the  truth  on  that  occasion  was  worthy  of  me.  Why  did 
she  come  to  question  me  on  personal  matters  ?  That 
question  was  indiscreet  on  her  part.  She  broke  the  convention. 
My  thoughts  about  Danton  are  not  part  of  the  sacrifice 
which  her  father  pays  me  to  make." 

When  he  came  into  the  dining-room  Julien's  thoughts  were 
distracted  from  his  bad  temper  by  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's 
mourning  which  was  all  the  more  striking  because  none  of  the 
other  members  of  the  family  were  in  black. 

After  dinner  he  felt  completely  rid  of  the  feeling  which  had 
obsessed  him  all  day.  Fortunately  the  academician  who 
knew  Latin  was  at  dinner.  "That's  the  man  who  will  make 
the  least  fun  of  me,"  said  Julien  to  himself,  "  if,  as  I  surmise,  my 
question  about  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's  mourning  is  in  bad 
taste." 

Mathilde  was  looking  at  him  with  a  singular  expression. 
"  So  this  is  the  coquetry  of  the  women  of  this  part  of  the 
country,  just  as  madame  de  Renal  described  it  to  me,"  said 
Julien  to  himself.  "  I  was  not  nice  to  her  this  morning.  I  did 
not  humour  her  caprice  of  talking  to  me.  I  got  up  in  value 
in  her  eyes.     The  Devil  doubtless  is  no  loser  by  it. 

"  Later  on  her  haughty  disdain  will  manage  to  revenge  her- 
self.    I  defy  her  to  do  her  worst.     What  a  contrast  with  what 


QUEEN  MARGUERITE  307 

I  have  lost !  What  charming  naturalness  ?  What  naivety  ! 
I  used  to  know  her  thoughts  before  she  did  herself.  I  used 
to  see  them  come  into  existence.  The  only  rival  she  had  in 
her  heart  was  the  fear  of  her  childrens'  death.  It  was  a  reason- 
able, natural  feeling  to  me,  and  even  though  I  suffered  from  it 
I  found  it  charming.  I  have  been  a  fool.  The  ideas  I  had 
in  my  head  about  Paris  prevented  me  from  appreciating  that 
sublime  woman. 

"  Great  God  what  a  contrast  and  what  do  I  find  here  ?  Arid, 
haughty  vanity :  all  the  fine  shades  of  wounded  egotism  and 
nothing  more." 

They  got  up  from  table.  "  I  must  not  let  my  academician 
get  snapped  up,"  said  Julien  to  himself.  He  went  up  to  him 
as  they  were  passing  into  the  garden,  assumed  an  air  of  soft 
submissiveness  and  shared  in  his  fury  against  the  success  of 
Hernani. 

"  If  only  we  were  still  in  the  days  of  lettres  de  cachet !  "  he 
said. 

"  Then  he  would  not  have  dared,"  exclaimed  the  academician 
with  a  gesture  worthy  of  Talma. 

Julien  quoted  some  words  from  Virgil's  Georgics  in  reference 
to  a  flower  and  expressed  the  opinion  that  nothing  was  equal 
to  the  abbe  Delille's  verses.  In  a  word  he  flattered  the 
academician  in  every  possible  way.  He  then  said  to  him  with 
the  utmost  indifference.  "  I  suppose  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole 
has  inherited  something  from  some  uncle  for  whom  she  is  in 
mourning." 

"  What !  you  belong  to  the  house  ?  "  said  the  academician 
stopping  short,  "  and  you  do  not  know  her  folly  ?  As  a 
matter  of  fact  it  is  strange  her  mother  should  allow  her  to  do 
such  things,  but  between  ourselves,  they  do  not  shine  in  this 
household  exactly  by  their  force  of  character.  Mademoiselle's 
share  has  to  do  for  all  of  them,  and  governs  them.  To-day  is 
the  thirtieth  of  April !  "  and  the  academician  stopped  and  looked 
meaningly  at  Julien.  Julien  smiled  with  the  most  knowing 
expression  he  could  master.  "  What  connection  can  there  be 
between  ruling  a  household,  wearing  a  black  dress,  and  the 
thirtieth  April?"  he  said  to  himself.  "  I  must  be  even  sillier 
.han  I  thought." 

"  I  must  confess  .  .  ."  he  said  to  the  academician  while  he 
ontinued  to  question  hi  m  with  his  look.     "  Let  us  take  a  turn 


3o8       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

round  the  garden,"  said  the  academician  deilghted  at  seeing 
an  opportunity  of  telling  a  long  and  well-turned  story. 

"  What !  is  it  really  possible  you  do  not  know  what  happened 
on  the  30th  April,  1574  ?" 

"  And  where  ?  "  said  Julien  in  astonishment. 

"  At  the  place  de  Greve." 

Julien  was  extremely  astonished  that  these  words  did  not 
supply  him  with  the  key.  His  curiosity  and  his  expectation 
of  a  tragic  interest  which  would  be  in  such  harmony  with  his 
own  character  gave  his  eyes  that  brilliance  which  the  teller  of 
a  story  likes  to  see  so  much  in  the  person  who  is  listening  to 
him.  The  academician  was  delighted  at  finding  a  virgin  ear, 
and  narrated  at  length  to  Julien  how  Boniface  de  la  Mole,  the 
handsomest  young  man  of  this  century  together  with  Annibal 
de  Coconasso,  his  friend,  a  gentleman  of  Piedmont,  had  been 
beheaded  on  the  30th  April,  1574.  La  Mole  was  the  adored 
lover  of  Queen  Marguerite  of  Navarre  and  "  observe,"  con- 
tinued the  academician,  "  that  mademoiselle  de  La  Mole's  full 
name  is  Mathilde  Marguerite.  La  Mole  was  at  the  same  time 
a  favourite  of  the  Duke  d'Alencon  and  the  intimate  friend  of 
his  mistress's  husband,  the  King  of  Navarre,  subsequently  Henri 
IV.  On  Shrove  Tuesday  of  that  year  1574,  the  court  happened 
to  be  at  St.  Germain  with  the  poor  king  Charles  IX.  who  was 
dying.  La  Mole  wished  to  rescue  his  friends  the  princes, 
whom  Queen  Catherine  of  Medici  was  keeping  prisoner  in  her 
Court.  He  advanced  two  hundred  cavalry  under  the  walls  of 
St.  Germain;  the  Duke  d'Alencon  was  frightened  and  La 
Mole  was  thrown  to  the  executioner. 

"  But  the  thing  which  affects  mademoiselle  Mathilde,  and 
what  she  has  admitted  to  me  herself  seven  or  eight  years  ago 
when  she  was  twelve,  is  a  head  !  a  head  ! and  the  acade- 
mician lifted  up  his  eyes  to  the  heavens.  What  struck  her  in 
this  political  catastrophe,  was  the  hiding  of  Queen  Marguerite 
de  Navarre  in  a  house  in  the  place  de  Greve  and  her  then 
asking  for  her  lover's  head.  At  midnight  on  the  following  day 
she  took  that  head  in  her  carriage  and  went  and  buried  it  her- 
self in  a  chapel  at  the  foot  of  the  hill  at  Montmartre." 

"  Impossible?  "  cried  Julien  really  moved. 

"  Mademoiselle  Mathilde  despises  her  brother  because,  as  you 
see,  he  does  not  bother  one  whit  about  this  ancient  history, 
and  never  wears  mourning  on  the  thirtieth  of  April.     It  is  since 


QUEEN  MARGUERITE  309 

the  time  of  this  celebrated  execution  and  in  order  to  recall  the 
intimate  friendship  of  La  Mole  for  the  said  Coconasso,  who 
Italian  that  he  was,  bore  the  name  of  Annibal  that  all  the  men 
of  that  family  bear  that  name.  And,"  added  the  academician 
lowering  his  voice,  "  this  Coconasso  was,  according  to  Charles 
IX.  himself,  one  of  the  cruellest  assassins  of  the  twenty-fourth 
August,  1572.  But  how  is  it  possible,  my  dear  Sorel,  that  you 
should  be  ignorant  of  these  things — you  who  take  your  meals 
with  the  family." 

"  So  that  is  why  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  twice  called  her 
brother  Annibal  at  dinner.     I  thought  I  had  heard  wrong." 

"  It  was  a  reproach.  It  is  strange  that  the  marquise  should 
allow  such  follies.  The  husband  of  that  great  girl  will  have  a 
fine  time  of  it." 

This  remark  was  followed  by  five  or  six  satiric  phrases. 
Julien  was  shocked  by  the  joy  which  shone  in  the  academician's 
eyes.  "  We  are  just  a  couple  of  servants,"  he  thought, 
"  engaged  in  talking  scandal  about  our  masters.  But  I  ought 
not  to  be  astonished  at  anything  this  academy  man  does." 

Julien  had  surprised  him  on  his  knees  one  day  before  the 
marquise  de  la  Mole ;  he  was  asking  her  for  a  tobacco  receiver- 
ship for  a  nephew  in  the  provinces.  In  the  evening  a  little 
chambermaid  of  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole,  who  was  paying 
court  to  Julien,  just  as  Elisa  had  used  to  do,  gave  him  to 
understand  that  her  mistress's  mourning  was  very  far  from 
being  worn  simply  to  attract  attention.  This  eccentricity  was 
rooted  in  her  character.  She  really  loved  that  la  Mole,  the 
beloved  lover  of  the  most  witty  queen  of  the  century,  who  had 
died  through  trying  to  set  his  friends  at  liberty — and  what 
friends  !     The  first  prince  of  the  blood  and  Henri  IV. 

Accustomed  as  he  had  been  to  the  perfect  naturalness 
which  shone  throughout  madame  de  Renal's  whole  demeanour, 
Julien  could  not  help  finding  all  the  women  of  Paris  affected, 
and,  though  by  no  means  of  a  morose  disposition,  found 
nothing  to  say  to  them.  Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  was  an 
exception. 

He  now  began  to  cease  taking  for  coldness  of  heart  that 
kind  of  beauty  which  attaches  importance  to  a  noble  bearing. 
He  had  long  conversations  with  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole, 
who  would  sometimes  walk  with  him  in  the  garden  after 
dinner.      She  told  him  one  day  that  she  was  reading  the 


3io       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

History  of  D'Aubigne  and  also  Brantome.  "  Strange  books 
to  read,"  thought  Julien ;  "  and  the  marquis  does  not  allow 
her  to  read  Walter  Scott's  novels  !  " 

She  told  him  one  day,  with  that  pleased  brilliancy  in  her 
eyes,  which  is  the  real  test  of  genuine  admiration,  about  a 
characteristic  act  of  a  young  woman  of  the  reign  of  Henry  III., 
which  she  had  just  read  in  the  memoirs  of  L'Etoile.  Finding 
her  husband  unfaithful  she  stabbed  him. 

Julien's  vanity  was  flattered.  A  person  who  was  surrounded 
by  so  much  homage,  and  who  governed  the  whole  house, 
according  to  the  academician,  deigned  to  talk  to  him  on  a 
footing  almost  resembling  friendship. 

"  I  made  a  mistake,''  thought  Julien  soon  afterwards. 
"This  is  not  familiarity,  I  am  simply  the  confidante  of  a 
tragedy,  she  needs  to  speak  to  someone.  I  pass  in  this  family 
for  a  man  of  learning.  I  will  go  and  read  Brantome, 
D'Aubigne,  L'Etoile.  I  shall  then  be  able  to  challenge  some 
of  the  anecdotes  which  madame  de  la  Mole  speaks  to  me 
about.     I  want  to  leave  off  this  role  of  the  passive  .confidante." 

His  conversations  with  this  young  girl,  whose  demeanour 
was  so  impressive  and  yet  so  easy,  gradually  became  more 
interesting.  He  forgot  his  grim  role  of  the  rebel  plebian. 
He  found  her  well-informed  and  even  logical.  Her  opinions 
in  the  gardens  were  very  different  to  those  which  she  owned 
to  in  the  salon.  Sometimes  she  exhibited  an  enthusiasm  and 
a  frankness  which  were  in  absolute  contrast  to  her  usual  cold 
haughtiness. 

"  The  wars  of  the  League  were  the  heroic  days  of  France," 
she  said  to  him  one  day,  with  eyes  shining  with  enthusiasm. 
"  Then  everyone  fought  to  gain  something  which  he  desired,  for 
the  sake  of  his  party's  triumph,  and  not  just  in  order  to  win  a 
cross  as  in  the  days  of  your  emperor.  Admit  that  there  was 
then  less  egotism  and  less  pettiness.     I  love  that  century." 

"And  Boniface  de  la  Mole  was  the  hero  of  it,"  he  said  to 
her. 

"  At  least  he  was  loved  in  a  way  that  it  is  perhaps  sweet  to 
be  loved.  What  woman  alive  now  would  not  be  horrified  at 
touching  the  head  of  her  decapitated  lover  ?  " 

Madame  de  la  Mole  called  her  daughter.  To  be  effective 
hypocrisy  ought  to  hide  itself,  yet  Julien  had  half  confided  his 
admiration  for  Napoleon  to  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole. 


QUEEN  MARGUERITE  311 

Julien  remained  alone  in  the  garden.  "  That  is  the  immense 
advantage  they  have  over  us,"  he  said  to  himself.  "Their 
ancestors  lift  them  above  vulgar  sentiments,  and  they  have  not 
got  always  to  be  thinking  about  their  subsistence !  What 
misery,"  he  added  bitterly.  "  I  am  not  worthy  to  discuss 
these  great  matters.  My  life  is  nothing  more  than  a  series  of 
hypocrisies  because  I  have  not  got  a  thousand  francs  a  year 
with  which  to  buy  my  bread  and  butter." 

Mathilde  came  running  back.  "What  are  you  dreaming 
about,  monsieur  ?  "  she  said  to  him. 

Julien  was  tired  of  despising  himself.  Through  sheer  pride 
he  frankly  told  her  his  thoughts.  He  blushed  a  great  deal 
while  talking  to  such  a  person  about  his  own  poverty.  He 
tried  to  make  it  as  plain  as  he  could  that  he  was  not  asking 
for  anything.  Mathilde  never  thought  him  so  handsome ;  she 
detected  in  him  an  expression  of  frankness  and  sensitiveness 
which  he  often  lacked. 

Within  a  month  of  this  episode  Julien  was  pensively  walking 
in  the  garden  of  the  hotel ;  but  his  face  had  no  longer  the 
hardness  and  philosophic  superciliousness  which  the  chronic 
consciousness  of  his  inferior  position  had  used  to  write  upon 
it.  He  had  just  escorted  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  to  the 
door  of  the  salon.  She  said  she  had  hurt  her  foot  while  running 
with  her  brother. 

"  She  leaned  on  my  arm  in  a  very  singular  way,"  said 
Julien  to  himself.  "  Am  I  a  coxcomb,  or  is  it  true  that  she 
has  taken  a  fancy  to  me  ?  She  listens  to  me  so  gently,  even 
when  I  confess  to  her  all  the  sufferings  of  my  pride  !  She  too, 
who  is  so  haughty  to  everyone !  They  would  be  very 
astonished  in  the  salon  if  they  saw  that  expression  of  hers. 
It  is  quite  certain  that  she  does  not  show  anyone  else  such 
sweetness  and  goodness." 

Julien  endeavoured  not  to  exaggerate  this  singular  friend- 
ship. He  himself  compared  it  to  an  armed  truce.  When 
they  met  again  each  day,  they  almost  seemed  before  they 
took  up  the  almost  intimate  tone  of  the  previous  day  to  ask 
themselves  "  are  we  going  to  be  friends  or  enemies  to-day  ?  " 
Julien  had  realised  that  to  allow  himself  to  be  insulted  with 
impunity  even  once  by  this  haughty  girl  would  mean  the  loss 
of  everything.  "  If  I  have  got  to  quarrel  would  it  not  be 
better  that  it  should  be  straight  away  in  defending  the  rights 


312  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

of  my  own  pride,  than  in  parrying  the  expressions  of  contempt 
which  would  follow  the  slightest  abandonment  of  my  duty 
to  my  own  self-respect  ?  " 

On  many  occasions,  on  days  when  she  was  in  a  bad  temper 
Mathilde,  tried  to  play  the  great  lady  with  him.  These 
attempts  were  extremely  subtle,  but  Julien  rebuffed  them 
roughly. 

One  day  he  brusquely  interrupted  her.  "  Has  mademoiselle 
de  la  Mole  any  orders  to  give  her  father's  secretary  ?  "  he  said 
to  her.  "  If  so  he  must  listen  to  her  orders,  and  execute 
them,  but  apart  from  that  he  has  not  a  single  word  to  say  to 
her.     He  is  not  paid  to  tell  her  his  thoughts." 

This  kind  of  life,  together  with  the  singular  surmises  which 
it  occasioned,  dissipated  the  boredom  which  he  had  been 
accustomed  to  experience  in  that  magnificent  salon,  where 
everyone  was  afraid,  and  where  any  kind  of  jest  was  in  bad 
form. 

"  It  would  be  humorous  if  she  loved  me  but  whether  she 
loves  me  or  not,"  went  on  Julien,  "  I  have  for  my  confidential 
friend  a  girl  of  spirit  before  whom  I  see  the  whole  household 
quake,  while  the  marquis  de  Croisenois  does  so  more  than 
anyone  else.  Yes,  to  be  sure,  that  same  young  man  who  is 
so  polite,  so  gentle,  and  so  brave,  and  who  has  combined  all 
those  advantages  of  birth  and  fortune  a  single  one  of  which 
would  put  my  heart  at  rest — he  is  madly  in  love  with  her, 
he  ought  to  marry  her.  How  many  letters  has  M.  de  la  Mole 
made  me  write  to  the  two  notaries  in  order  to  arrange  the 
contract  ?  And  I,  though  I  am  an  absolute  inferior  when  I 
have  my  pen  in  my  hand,  why,  I  triumph  over  that  young 
man  two  hours  afterwards  in  this  very  garden  ;  for,  after  all, 
her  preference  is  striking  and  direct.  Perhaps  she  hates  him 
because  she  sees  in  him  a  future  husband.  She  is  haughty 
enough  for  that.  As  for  her  kindness  to  me,  I  receive  it  in 
my  capacity  of  confidential  servant. 

"  But  no,  I  am  either  mad  or  she  is  making  advances  to  me ; 
the  colder  and  more  respectful  I  show  myself  to  her,  the  more 
she  runs  after  me.  It  may  be  a  deliberate  piece  of  affectation ; 
but  I  see  her  eyes  become  animated  when  I  appear  unex- 
pectedly. Can  the  women  of  Paris  manage  to  act  to  such  an 
extent.  What  does  it  matter  to  me !  I  have  appearances  in 
my  favour,  let  us  enjoy  appearances.     Heavens,  how  beautiful 


QUEEN  MARGUERITE  313 

she  is  !  How  I  like  her  great  blue  eyes  when  I  see  them  at 
close  quarters,  and  they  look  at  me  in  the  way  they  often  do  ? 
What  a  difference  between  this  spring  and  that  of  last  year, 
when  I  lived  an  unhappy  life  among  three  hundred  dirty 
malicious  hypocrites,  and  only  kept  myself  afloat  through 
sheer  force  of  character,  I  was  almost  as  malicious  as  they 
were." 

"  That  young  girl  is  making  fun  of  me,"  Julien  would  think 
in  his  suspicious  days.  "She  is  acting  in  concert  with  her 
brother  to  make  a  fool  of  me.  But  she  seems  to  have  an 
absolute  contempt  for  her  brother's  lack  of  energy.  He  is 
brave  and  that  is  all.  He  has  not  a  thought  which  dares  to 
deviate  from  the  conventional.  It  is  always  I  who  have  to 
take  up  the  cudgels  in  his  defence.  A  young  girl  of  nineteen  ! 
Can  one  at  that  age  act  up  faithfully  every  second  of  the  day 
to  the  part  which  one  has  determined  to  play.  On  the  other 
hand  whenever  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  fixes  her  eyes  on  me 
with  a  singular  expression  comte  Norbert  always  goes  away. 
I  think  that  suspicious.  Ought  he  not  to  be  indignant  at  his 
sister  singling  out  a  servant  of  her  household  ?  For  that  is 
how  I  heard  the  Duke  de  Chaulnes  speak  about  me.  This 
recollection  caused  anger  to  supersede  every  other  emotion. 
It  is  simply  a  fashion  for  old  fashioned  phraseology  on  the 
part  of  the  eccentric  duke  ?  " 

"  Well,  she  is  pretty  ! "  continued  Julien  with  a  tigerish  ex- 
pression, "  I  will  have  her,  I  will  then  go  away,  and  woe  to 
him  who  disturbs  me  in  my  flight." 

This  idea  became  Julien's  sole  preoccupation.  He  could 
not  think  of  anything  else.     His  days  passed  like  hours. 

Every  moment  when  he  tried  to  concentrate  on  some 
important  matter  his  mind  became  a  blank,  and  he  would 
wake  up  a  quarter  of  an  hour  afterwards  with  a  beating  heart 
and  an  anxious  mind,  brooding  over  this  idea  "does  she 
love  me  ?  " 


CHAPTER  XLI 

A    YOUNG    GIRL'S    DOMINION 

I  admire  her  beauty  but  I  fear  her  intellect. — Merimie. 

If  Julien  had  employed  the  time  which  he  spent  in  exaggerat- 
ing Matilde's  beauty  or  in  working  himself  up  into  a  rage  against 
that  family  haughtiness  which  she  was  forgetting  for  his  sake 
in  examining  what  was  going  on  in  the  salon,  he  would  have 
understood  the  secret  of  her  dominion  over  all  that  surrounded 
her. 

When  anyone  displeased  mademoiselle  de  La  Mole  she 
managed  to  punish  the  offender  by  a  jest  which  was  so  guarded, 
so  well  chosen,  so  polite  and  so  neatly  timed,  that  the  more 
the  victim  thought  about  it,  the  sorer  grew  the  wound.  She 
gradually  became  positively  terrible  to  wounded  vanity.  As 
she  attached  no  value  to  many  things  which  the  rest  of  her 
family  very  seriously  wanted,  she  always  struck  them  as  self- 
possessed.  The  salons  of  the  aristocracy  are  nice  enough  to 
brag  about  when  you  leave  them,  but  that  is  all ;  mere  polite- 
ness alone  only  counts  for  something  in  its  own  right  during 
the  first  few  days.  Julien  experienced  this  after  the  first 
fascination  and  the  first  astonishment  had  passed  off.  "  Polite- 
ness," he  said  to  himself  "  is  nothing  but  the  absence  of  that 
bad  temper  which  would  be  occasioned  by  bad  manners." 
Mathilde  was  frequently  bored ;  perhaps  she  would  have  been 
bored  anywhere.  She  then  found  a  real  distraction  and  real 
pleasure  in  sharpening  an  epigram. 

It  was  perhaps  in  order  to  have  more  amusing  victims  than  her 
great  relations,  the  academician  and  the  five  or  six  other  men 
of  inferior  class  who  paid  her  court,  that  she  had  given  en- 
couragement to  the  marquis  de  Croisenois,  the  comte  Caylus 


A  YOUNG  GIRL'S  DOMINION  315 

and  two  or  three  other  young  men  of  the  highest  rank.     They 
simply  represented  new  subjects  for  epigrams. 

We  will  admit  with  reluctance,  for  we  are  fond  of  Mathilde, 
that  she  had  received  many  letters  from  several  of  them  and 
had  sometimes  answered  them.  We  hasten  to  add  that  this 
person  constitutes  an  exception  to  the  manners  of  the  century. 
Lack  of  prudence  is  not  generally  the  fault  with  which  the 
pupils  of  the  noble  convent  of  the  Sacred  Heart  can  be 
reproached. 

One  day  the  marquis  de  Croisenois  returned  to  Mathilde  a 
fairly  compromising  letter  which  she  had  written  the  previous 
night.  He  thought  that  he  was  thereby  advancing  his  cause 
a  great  deal  by  taking  this  highly  prudent  step.  But  the  very 
imprudence  of  her  correspondence  was  the  very  element  in  it 
Mathilde  liked.  Her  pleasure  was  to  stake  her  fate.  She  did 
not  speak  to  him  again  for  six  weeks. 

She  amused  herself  with  the  letters  of  these  young  men, 
but  in  her  view  they  were  all  like  each  other.  It  was  invari- 
ably a  case  of  the  most  profound,  the  most  melancholy, 
passion. 

"They  all  represent  the  same  perfect  man,  ready  to  leave 
for  Palestine,"  she  exclaimed  to  her  cousin.  "  Can  you  con- 
ceive of  anything  more  insipid  ?  So  these  are  the  letters  I  am 
going  to  receive  all  my  life  !  There  can  only  be  a  change 
every  twenty  years  according  to  the  kind  of  vogue  which 
happens  to  be  fashionable.  They  must  have  had  more 
colour  in  them  in  the  days  of  the  Empire.  In  those  days  all 
these  young  society  men  had  seen  or  accomplished  feats  which 

really  had  an  element  of  greatness.     The  Duke  of  N my 

uncle  was  at  Wagram." 

"  What  brains  do  you  need  to  deal  a  sabre  blow  ?  And 
when  they  have  had  the  luck  to  do  that  they  talk  of  it 
so  often !  "  said  mademoiselle  de  Sainte-Heredite,  Mathilde's 
cousin. 

"  Well,  those  tales  give  me  pleasure.  Being  in  a  real  battle, 
a  battle  of  Napoleon,  where  six  thousand  soldiers  were  killed, 
why,  that's  proof  of  courage.  Exposing  one's  self  to  danger 
elevates  the  soul  and  saves  it  from  the  boredom  in  which  my 
poor  admirers  seem  to  be  sunk ;  and  that  boredom  is  contagious. 
Which  of  them  ever  thought  of  doing  anything  extraordinary  ? 
They  are  trying  to  win  my  hand,  a  pretty  business  to  be  sure ! 


316       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

I  am  rich  and  my  father  will  procure  advancement  for  his  son- 
in-law.  Well !  I  hope  he'll  manage  to  find  someone  who  is  a 
little  bit  amusing." 

Mathilde's  keen,  sharp  and  picturesque  view  of  life  spoilt  her 
language  as  one  sees.  An  expression  of  hers  would  often 
constitute  a  blemish  in  the  eyes  of  her  polished  friends.  If 
she  had  been  less  fashionable  they  would  almost  have  owned 
that  her  manner  of  speaking  was,  from  the  standpoint  of 
feminine  delicacy,  to  some  extent  unduly  coloured. 

She,  on  her  side,  was  very  unjust  towards  the  handsome 
cavaliers  who  fill  the  Bois  de  Boulogne.  She  envisaged  the 
future  not  with  terror,  that  would  have  been  a  vivid  emotion, 
but  with  a  disgust  which  was  very  rare  at  her  age. 

What  could  she  desire  ?  Fortune,  good  birth,  wit,  beauty, 
according  to  what  the  world  said,  and  according  to  what  she 
believed,  all  these  things  had  been  lavished  upon  her  by  the 
hands  of  chance. 

So  this  was  the  state  of  mind  of  the  most  envied  heiress 
of  the  faubourg  Saint-Germain  when  she  began  to  find 
pleasure  in  walking  with  Julien.  She  was  astonished  at  his 
pride ;  she  admired  the  ability  of  the  little  bourgeois.  "  He 
will  manage  to  get  made  a  bishop  like  the  abbe  Mouray,"  she 
said  to  herself. 

Soon  the  sincere  and  unaffected  opposition  with  which  our 
hero  received  several  of  her  ideas  filled  her  mind ;  she  con- 
tinued to  think  about  it,  she  told  her  friend  the  slightest 
details  of  the  conversation,  but  thought  that  she  would  never 
succeed  in  fully  rendering  all  their  meaning. 

An  idea  suddenly  flashed  across  her ;  "  I  have  the  happi- 
ness of  loving,"  she  said  to  herself  one  day  with  an  incredible 
ecstasy  of  joy.  "  I  am  in  love,  I  am  in  love,  it  is  clear  ! 
Where  can  a  young,  witty  and  beautiful  girl  of  my  own  age 
find  sensations  if  not  in  love  ?  It  is  no  good.  I  shall  never 
feel  any  love  for  Croisenois,  Caylus,  and  tutti  quanti.  They 
are  unimpeachable,  perhaps  too  unimpeachable ;  any  way  they 
bore  me." 

She  rehearsed  in  her  mind  all  the  descriptions  of  passion 
which  she  had  read  in  Manon  Lescaut,  the  Nouvclle  Heloise, 
the  Letters  of  a  Portuguese  Nun,  etc.,  etc.  It  was  only  a 
question  of  course  of  the  grand  passion;  light  love  was  un- 
worthy of  a  girl  of  her  age  and  birth.     She  vouchsafed  the 


A  YOUNG  GIRL'S  DOMINION  317 

name  of  love  to  that  heroic  sentiment  which  was  met  with  in 
France  in  the  time  of  Henri  III.  and  Bassompierre.  That 
love  did  not  basely  yield  to  obstacles,  but,  far  from  it,  inspired 
great  deeds.  "  How  unfortunate  for  me  that  there  is  not  a 
real  court  like  that  of  Catherine  de  Medicis  or  of  Louis  XIII. 
I  feel  equal  to  the  boldest  and  greatest  actions.  What  would 
I  not  make  of  a  king  who  was  a  man  of  spirit  like  Louis  XIII. 
if  he  were  sighing  at  my  feet !  I  would  take  him  to  the 
Vendee,  as  the  Baron  de  Tolly  is  so  fend  of  saying,  and 
from  that  base  he  would  re-conquer  his  kingdom ;  then  no 
more  about  a  charter — and  Julien  would  help  me.  What 
does  he  lack  ?  name  and  fortune.  He  will  make  a  name, 
he  will  win  a  fortune. 

"  Croisenois  lacks  nothing,  and  he  will  never  be  anything 
else  all  his  life  but  a  duke  who  is  half  '  ultra '  and  half 
Liberal,  an  undecided  being  who  never  goes  to  extremes  and 
consequently  always  plays  second  fiddle. 

"  What  great  action  is  not  an  extreme  at  the  moment  when 
it  is  undertaken  ?  It  is  only  after  accomplishment  that  it 
seems  possible  to  commonplace  individuals.  Yes,  it  is  love 
with  all  its  miracles  which  is  going  to  reign  over  my  heart ;  I 
feel  as  much  from  the  fire  which  is  thrilling  me.  Heaven 
owed  me  this  boon.  It  will  not  then  have  lavished  in  vain 
all  its  bounties  on  one  single  person.  My  happiness  will  be 
worthy  of  me.  Each  day  will  no  longer  be  the  cold  replica 
of  the  day  before.  There  is  grandeur  and  audacity  in  the 
very  fact  of  daring  to  love  a  man,  placed  so  far  beneath  me 
by  his  social  position.  Let  us  see  what  happens,  will  he 
continue  to  deserve  me?  I  will  abandon  him  at  the  first 
sign  of  weakness  which  I  detect.  A  girl  of  my  birth  and  of 
that  mediaeval  temperament  which  they  are  good  enough  to 
ascribe  to  me  (she  was  quoting  from  her  father)  must  not 
behave  like  a  fool. 

"  But  should  I  not  be  behaving  like  a  fool  if  I  were  to  love 
the  marquis  de  Croisenois?  I  should  simply  have  a  new 
edition  over  again  of  that  happiness  enjoyed  by  my  girl 
cousins  which  I  so  utterly  despise.  I  already  know  everything 
the  poor  marquis  would  say  to  me  and  every  answer  I  should 
make.  What's  the  good  of  a  love  which  makes  one  yawn  ? 
One  might  as  well  be  in  a  nunnery.  I  shall  have  a  celebration 
of  the  signing  of  a   contract   just   like    my  younger   cousin 


3i8       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

when  the  grandparents  all  break  down,  provided  of  course 
that  they  are  not  annoyed  by  some  condition  introduced 
into  the  contract  at  the  eleventh  hour  by  the  notary  on  the 
other  side." 


CHAPTER   XLII 

IS    HE    A    DANTON  ? 

The  need  of  anxiety.  These  words  summed  up  the  character 
of  my  aunt,  the  beautiful  Marguerite  de  Valois,  who  was  soon  to 
marry  the  King  of  Navarre  whom  we  see  reigning  at  present  in 
France  under  the  name  of  Henry  IV.  The  need  of  staking  some- 
thing was  the  key  to  the  character  of  this  charming  princess  ; 
hence  her  quarrels  and  reconciliations  with  her  brothers  from 
the  time  when  she  was  sixteen.  Now,  what  can  a  young  girl 
stake  ?  The  most  precious  thing  she  has  :  her  reputation,  the 
esteem  of  a  lifetime. 

Memoirs  of  the  Duke  d?  Angouleme. 
the  natural  son  of  Charles  IX. 

"There  is  no  contract  to  sign  for  Julien  and  me,  there  is 
no  notary;  everything  is  on  the  heroic  plane,  everything  is 
the  child  of  chance.  Apart  from  the  noble  birth  which  he 
lacks,  it  is  the  love  of  Marguerite  de  Valois  for  the  young  La 
Mole,  the  most  distinguished  man  of  the  time,  over  again. 
Is  it  my  fault  that  the  young  men  of  the  court  are  such  great 
advocates  of  the  conventional,  and  turn  pale  at  the  mere  idea 
of  the  slightest  adventure  which  is  a  little  out  of  the  ordinary  ? 
A  little  journey  in  Greece  or  Africa  represents  the  highest 
pitch  of  their  audacity,  and  moreover  they  can  only  march  in 
troops.  As  soon  as  they  find  themselves  alone  they  are 
frightened,  not  of  the  Bedouin's  lance,  but  of  ridicule  and  that 
fear  makes  them  mad. 

"  My  little  Julien  on  the  other  hand  only  likes  to  act  alone. 
This  unique  person  never  thinks  for  a  minute  of  seeking 
help  or  support  in  others  !  He  despises  others,  and  that  is 
why  I  do  not  despise  him. 

"  If  Julien  were  noble  as  well  as  poor,  my  love  would  simply 
be  a  vulgar  piece  of  stupidity,  a  sheer  mesalliance;  I  would 
have  nothing  to  do  with  it ;  it  would  be  absolutely  devoid 
of  the   characteristic  traits  of  grand  passion — the  immensity 


320       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

of  the  difficulty  to  be  overcome  and  the  black  uncertainty  cf 
the  result." 

Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  was  so  engrossed  in  these  pretty 
arguments  that  without  realising  what  she  was  doing,  she 
praised  Julien  to  the  marquis  de  Croisenois  and  her  brother 
on  the  following  day.  Her  eloquence  went  so  far  that  it 
provoked  them. 

"  You  be  careful  of  this  young  man  who  has  so  much 
energy,"  exclaimed  her  brother ;  "  if  we  have  another  revolu- 
tion he  will  have  us  all  guillotined." 

She  was  careful  not  to  answer,  but  hastened  to  rally  her 
brother  and  the  marquis  de  Croisenois  on  the  apprehension 
which  energy  caused  them.  "  It  is  at  bottom  simply  the  fear 
of  meeting  the  unexpected,  the  fear  of  being  non-plussed  in 
the  presence  of  the  unexpected — " 

"Always,  always,  gentlemen,  the  fear  of  ridicule,  a  monster 
which  had  the  misfortune  to  die  in  1816." 

"  Ridicule  has  ceased  to  exist  in  a  country  where  there  are 
two  parties,"  M.  de  la  Mole  was  fond  of  saying, 

His  daughter  had  understood  the  idea. 

"So,  gentlemen,"  she  would  say  to  Julien's  enemies,  "you 
will  be  frightened  all  your  life  and  you  will  be  told  afterwards, 
Ce  littait pas  un  loup,  ce  rCen  etait  que  F ombre." 

Matilde  soon  left  them.  Her  brother's  words  horrified  her; 
they  occasioned  her  much  anxiety,  but  the  day  afterwards  she 
regarded  them  as  tantamount  to  the  highest  praise. 

"  His  energy  frightens  them  in  this  age  where  all  energy  is 
dead.  I  will  tell  him  my  brother's  phrase.  I  want  to  see 
what  answer  he  will  make.  But  I  will  choose  one  of  the 
moments  when  his  eyes  are  shining.  Then  he  will  not  be 
able  to  lie  to  me. 

"  He  must  be  a  Danton  !  she  added  after  a  long  and 
vague  reverie.  Well,  suppose  the  revolution  begins  again, 
what  figures  will  Croisenois  and  my  brother  cut  then  ?  It  is 
settled  in  advance  :  Sublime  resignation.  They  will  be 
heroic  sheep  who  will  allow  their  throats  to  be  cut  without 
saying  a  word.  Their  one  fear  when  they  die  will  still  be 
the  fear  of  being  bad  form.  If  a  Jacobin  came  to  arrest  my 
little  Julien  he  would  blow  his  brains  out,  however  small  a 
chance  he  had  of  escaping.  He  is  not  frightened  of  doing 
anything  in  bad  form." 


IS  HE  A  DANTON?  321 

These  last  words  made  her  pensive ;  they  recalled  painful 
memories  and  deprived  her  of  all  her  boldness.  These  words 
reminded  her  of  the  jests  of  MM.  de  Caylus,  Croisenois,  de 
Luz  and  her  brother;  these  gentlemen  joined  in  censuring 
Julien  for  his  priestly  demeanour,  which  they  said  was  humble 
and  hypocritical. 

"  But,"  she  went  on  suddenly  with  her  eyes  gleaming  with 
joy,  "  the  very  bitterness  and  the  very  frequency  of  their  jests 
prove  in  spite  of  themselves  that  he  is  the  most  distinguished 
man  whom  we  have  seen  this  winter.  What  matter  his  defects 
and  the  things  which  they  make  fun  of?  He  has  the  element 
of  greatness  and  they  are  shocked  by  it.  Yes,  they,  the  very 
men  who  are  so  good  and  so  charitable  in  other  matters. 
It  is  a  fact  that  he  is  poor  and  that  he  has  studied  in  order  to 
be  a  priest ;  they  are  the  heads  of  a  squadron  and  never  had 
any  need  of  studying ;  they  found  it  less  trouble. 

"  In  spite  of  all  the  handicap  of  his  everlasting  black  suit  and 
of  that  priestly  expression  which  he  must  wear,  poor  boy,  if  he 
isn't  to  die  of  hunger,  his  merit  frightens  them,  nothing  could 
be  clearer.  And  as  for  that  priest-like  expression,  why  he  no 
longer  has  it  after  we  have  been  alone  for  some  moments, 
and  after  those  gentlemen  have  evolved  what  they  imagine 
to  be  a  subtle  and  impromptu  epigram,  is  not  their 
first  look  towards  Julien  ?  I  have  often  noticed  it.  And  yet 
they  know  well  that  he  never  speaks  to  them  unless  he  is 
questioned.  I  am  the  only  one  whom  he  speaks  to.  He  thinks 
I  have  a  lofty  soul.  He  only  answers  the  points  they  raise 
sufficiently  to  be  polite.  He  immediately  reverts  into  respect- 
fulness. But  with  me  he  will  discuss  things  for  whole  hours, 
he  is  not  certain  of  his  ideas  so  long  as  I  find  the  slightest 
objection  to  them.  There  has  not  been  a  single  rifle-shot 
fired  all  this  winter ;  words  have  been  the  only  means  of 
attracting  attention.  Well,  my  father,  who  is  a  superior  man 
and  will  carry  the  fortunes  of  our  house  very  far,  respects 
Julien.  Every  one  else  hates  him,  no  one  despises  him 
except  my  mother's  devout  friends." 

The  Comte  de  Caylus  had  or  pretended  to  have  a  great 
passion  for  horses ;  he  passed  his  life  in  his  stables  and  often 
breakfasted  there.  This  great  passion,  together  with  his  habit 
of  never  laughing,  won  for  him  much  respect  among  his  friends  : 
he  was  the  eagle  of  the  little  circle. 

21 


322       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

As  soon  as  they  had  reassembled  the  following  day  behind 
madame  de  la  Mole's  armchair,  M.  de  Caylus,  supported  by 
Croisenois  and  by  Norbert,  began  in  Julien's  absence  to 
attack  sharply  the  high  opinion  which  Mathilde  entertained 
for  Julien.  He  did  this  without  any  provocation,  and  almost 
the  very  minute  that  he  caught  sight  of  mademeiselle  de  la 
Mole.  She  tumbled  to  the  subtlety  immediately  and  was 
delighted  with  it. 

"  So  there  they  are  all  leagued  together,"  she  said  to 
herself,  "  against  a  man  of  genius  who  has  not  ten  louis  a  year 
to  bless  himself  with  and  who  cannot  answer  them  except  in 
so  far  as  he  is  questioned.  They  are  frightened  of  him,  black 
coat  and  all.  But  how  would  things  stand  if  he  had  epaulettes  ?  " 
She  had  never  been  more  brilliant,  hardly  had  Caylus  and 
his  allies  opened  their  attack  than  she  riddled  them  with 
sarcastic  jests.  When  the  fire  of  these  brilliant  officers  was 
at  length  extinguished  she  said  to  M.  de  Caylus. 

"  Suppose  that  some  gentleman  in  the  Franche-Comte 
mountains  finds  out  to-morrow  that  Julien  is  his  natural  son 
and  gives  him  a  name  and  some  thousands  of  francs,  why  in 
six  months  he  will  be  an  officer  of  hussars  like  you,  gentlemen, 
in  six  weeks  he  will  have  moustaches  like  you  gentlemen. 
And  then  his  greatness  of  character  will  no  longer  be  an  object 
of  ridicule.  I  shall  then  see  you  reduced,  monsieur  the 
future  duke,  to  this  stale  and  bad  argument,  the  superiority 
of  the  court  nobility  over  the  provincial  nobility.  But  where 
will  you  be  if  I  choose  to  push  you  to  extremities  and  am 
mischievous  enough  to  make  Julien's  father  a  Spanish  duke, 
who  was  a  prisoner  of  war  at  Besancon  in  the  time  of  Napoleon, 
and  who  out  of  conscientious  scruples  acknowledges  him  on 
his  death  bed  ?  "  MM.  de  Caylus,  and  de  Croisenois  found  all 
these  assumptions  of  illegitimacy  in  rather  bad  taste.  That 
was  all  they  saw  in  Mathilde's  reasoning. 

His  sister's  words  were  so  clear  that  Norbert,  in  spite  of  his 
submissiveness,  assumed  a  solemn  air,  which  one  must  admit 
did  not  harmonise  very  well  with  his  amiable,  smiling  face. 
He  ventured  to  say  a  few  words. 

"  Are  you  ill  ?  my  dear,"  answered  Mathilde  with  a  little 
air  of  seriousness.  "  You  must  be  very  bad  to  answer  jests 
by  moralizing." 

"  Moralizing  from  you  !   Are  you  soliciting  a  job  as  prefect  ?  " 


IS  HE  A  DANTON?  323 

Mathilde  soon  forgot  the  irritation  of  the  comte  de  Caylus, 
the  bad  temper  of  Norbert,  and  the  taciturn  despair  of  M.  de 
Croisenois.  She  had  to  decide  one  way  or  the  other  a  fatal 
question  which  had  just  seized  upon  her  soul. 

"Julien  is  sincere  enough  with  me,"  she  said  to  herself, 
*  a  man  at  his  age,  in  a  inferior  position,  and  rendered  unhappy 
as  he  is  by  an  extraordinary  ambition,  must  have  need  of  a 
woman  friend.  I  am  perhaps  that  friend,  but  I  see  no  sign 
of  love  in  him.  Taking  into  account  the  audacity  of  his 
character  he  would  surely  have  spoken  to  me  about  his  love." 

This  uncertainty  and  this  discussion  with  herself  which 
henceforth  monopolised  Mathilde's  time,  and  in  connection 
with  which  she  found  new  arguments  each  time  that  Julien 
spoke  to  her,  completely  routed  those  fits  of  boredom  to 
which  she  had  been  so  liable. 

Daughter  as  she  was  of  a  man  of  intellect  who  might 
become  a  minister,  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  had  been  when 
in  the  convent  of  the  Sacred  Heart,  the  object  of  the  most 
excessive  flattery.  This  misfortune  can  never  be  compensated 
for.  She  had  been  persuaded  that  by  reason  of  all  her 
advantages  of  birth,  fortune,  etc.,  she  ought  to  be  happier  than 
any  one  else.  This  is  the  cause  of  the  boredom  of  princes 
and  of  all  their  follies. 

Mathilde  had  not  escaped  the  deadly  influence  of  this  idea. 
However  intelligent  one  may  be,  one  cannot  at  the  age  of 
ten  be  on  one's  guard  against  the  flatteries  of  a  whole  convent, 
which  are  apparently  so  well  founded. 

From  the  moment  that  she  had  decided  that  she  loved 
Julien,  she  was  no  longer  bored.  She  congratulated  herself 
every  day  on  having  deliberately  decided  to  indulge  in 
a  grand  passion.  "This  amusement  is  very  dangerous," 
she  thought.  "  All  the  better,  all  the  better,  a  thousand  times. 
Without  a  grand  passion  I  should  be  languishing  in  boredom 
during  the  finest  time  of  my  life,  the  years  from  sixteen  to 
twenty.  I  have  already  wasted  my  finest  years  :  all  my  pleasure 
consisted  in  being  obliged  to  listen  to  the  silly  arguments  of 
my  mother's  friends  who  when  at  Coblentz  in  1792  were  not 
quite  so  strict,  so  they  say,  as  their  words  of  to-day." 

It  was  while  Mathilde  was  a  prey  to  these  great  fits  of 
uncertainly  that  Julien  was  baffled  by  those  long  looks  of 
hers  which  lingered  upon   him.     He  noticed,  no  doubt,  an 


324       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

increased  frigidity  in  the  manner  of  comte  Norbert,  and  a 
fresh  touch  of  haughtiness  in  the  manner  of  MM.  de  Caylus,  de 
Luz  and  de  Croisenois.  He  was  accustomed  to  that.  He 
would  sometimes  be  their  victim  in  this  way  at  the  end 
of  an  evening  when,  in  view  of  the  position  he  occupied,  he 
had  been  unduly  brilliant.  Had  it  not  been  for  the  especial 
welcome  with  which  Mathilde  would  greet  him,  and  the 
curiosity  with  which  all  this  society  inspired  him,  he  would 
have  avoided  following  these  brilliant  moustachioed  young 
men  into  the  garden,  when  they  accompained  madamoiselle 
de  La  Mole  there,  in  the  hour  after  dinner. 

"  Yes,"  Julien  would  say  to  himself,  "  it  is  impossible  for 
me  to  deceive  myself,  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  looks  at  me 
in  a  very  singular  way.  But  even  when  her  fine  blue  open 
eyes  are  fixed  on  me,  wide  open  with  the  most  abandon,  I 
always  detect  behind  them  an  element  of  scrutiny,  self- 
possession  and  malice.  Is  it  possible  that  this  may  be  love  ? 
But  how  different  to  madame  de  Renal's  looks  ! " 

One  evening  after  dinner  Julien,  who  had  followed  M.  de 
La  Mole  into  his  study,  was  rapidly  walking  back  to  the 
garden.  He  approached  Mathilde's  circle  without  any  warning, 
and  caught  some  words  pronounced  in  a  very  loud  voice- 
She  was  teasing  her  brother.  Julien  heard  his  name  distinctly 
pronounced  twice.  He  appeared.  There  was  immediately  a 
profound  silence  and  abortive  efforts  were  made  to  dissipate- 
it.  Mademoiselle  de  La  Mole  and  her  brother  were  toe 
animated  to  find  another  topic  of  conversation.  MM.  de 
Caylus,  de  Croisenois,  de  Luz,  and  one  of  their  friends,  mani- 
fested an  icy  coldness  to  Julien.     He  went  away. 


CHAPTER  XLIII 

A    PLOT 

Disconnected  remarks,  casual  meetings,  become  transformed  in 
the  eyes  of  an  imaginative  man  into  the  most  convincing  proofs, 
if  he  has  any  fire  in  his  temperament. — Schiller. 

The  following  day  he  again  caught  Norbert  and  his  sister 
talking  about  him.  A  funereal  silence  was  established  on  his 
arrival  as  on  the  previous  day.  His  suspicions  were  now  un- 
bounded. "  Can  these  charming  young  people  have  started  to 
make  fun  of  me  ?  I  must  own  this  is  much  more  probable, 
much  more  natural  than  any  suggested  passion  on  the  part  of 
madamoiselle  de  La  Mole  for  a  poor  devil  of  a  secretary.  In 
the  first  place,  have  those  people  got  any  passions  at  all? 
Mystification  is  their  strong  point.  They  are  jealous  of  my 
poor  little  superiority  in  speaking.  Being  jealous  again  is  one 
of  their  weaknesses.  On  that  basis  everything  is  explicable. 
Mademoiselle  de  La  Mole  simply  wants  to  persuade  me  that 
she  is  marking  me  out  for  special  favour  in  order  to  show  me 
off  to  her  betrothed  ?  " 

This  cruel  suspicion  completely  changed  Julien's  psycholo- 
gical condition.  The  idea  found  in  his  heart  a  budding  love 
which  it  had  no  difficulty  in  destroying.  This  love  was  only 
founded  on  Mathilde's  rare  beauty,  or  rather  on  her  queenly 
manners  and  her  admirable  dresses.  Julien  was  still  a  parvenu 
in  this  respect.  We  are  assured  that  there  is  nothing 
equal  to  a  pretty  society  women  for  dazzling  a  peasant  who  is 
at  the  same  time  a  man  of  intellect,  when  he  is  admitted  to 
first  class  society.  It  had  not  been  Mathilde's  character 
which  had  given  Julien  food  for  dreams  in  the  days  that  had 
just  passed.  He  had  sufficient  sense  to  realise  that  he  knew 
nothing  about  her  character.  All  he  saw  of  it  might  be  merely 
superficial. 


326       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

For  instance,  Mathilde  would  not  have  missed  mass  on 
Sunday  for  anything  in  the  world.  She  accompanied  her 
mother  there  nearly  every  time.  If  when  in  the  salon  of  the 
hotel  de  La  Mole  some  indiscreet  man  forgot  where  he  was, 
and  indulged  in  the  remotest  allusion  to  any  jest  against  the 
real  or  supposed  interests  of  Church  or  State,  Mathilde 
immediately  assumed  an  icy  seriousness.  Her  previously  arch 
expression  re-assumed  all  the  impassive  haughtiness  of  an  old 
family  portrait. 

But  Julien  had  assured  himself  that  she  always  had  one  or 
two  of  Voltaire's  most  philosophic  volumes  in  her  room.  He 
himself  would  often  steal  some  tomes  of  that  fine  edition 
which  was  so  magnificently  bound.  By  moving  each  volume 
a  little  distance  from  the  one  next  to  it  he  managed  to  hide 
the  absence  of  the  one  he  took  away,  but  he  soon  noticed 
that  someone  else  was  reading  Voltaire.  He  had  recourse  to 
a  trick  worthy  of  the  seminary  and  placed  some  pieces  of  hair 
on  those  volumes  which  he  thought  were  likely  to  interest 
mademoiselle  de  La  Mole.  They  disappeared  for  whole 
weeks. 

M.  de  La  Mole  had  lost  patience  with  his  bookseller,  who 
always  sent  him  all  the  spurious  memoirs,  and  had  instructed 
Julien  to  buy  all  the  new  books,  which  were  at  all  stimulating. 
But  in  order  to  prevent  the  poison  spreading  over  the  house- 
hold, the  secretary  was  ordered  to  place  the  books  in  a  little 
book-case  that  stood  in  the  marquis's  own  room.  He  was 
soon  quite  certain  that  although  the  new  books  were  hostile  to 
the  interests  of  both  State  and  Church,  they  very  quickly  dis- 
appeared.    It  was  certainly  not  Norbert  who  read  them. 

Julien  attached  undue  importance  to  this  discovery,  and 
attributed  to  mademoiselle  de  La  Mole  a  Macchiavellian  role. 
This  seeming  depravity  constituted  a  charm  in  his  eyes,  the 
one  moral  charm,  in  fact,  which  she  possessed.  He  was  led 
into  this  extravagance  by  his  boredom  with  hypocrisy  and 
moral  platitudes. 

It  was  more  a  case  of  his  exciting  his  own  imagination  than 
of  his  being  swept  away  by  his  love. 

It  was  only  after  he  had  abandoned  himself  to  reveries 
about  the  elegance  of  mademoiselle  de  La  Mole's  figure,  the 
excellent  taste  of  he  dress,  the  whiteness  of  her  hand,  the 
beauty  of  her  arm,  the  disinvoltura  of  all  her  movements,  that 


A  PLOT  327 

he  began  to  find  himself  in  love.  Then  in  order  to  complete 
the  charm  he  thought  her  a  Catherine  de  Medicis.  Nothing 
was  too  deep  or  too  criminal  for  the  character  which  he  as- 
cribed to  her.  She  was  the  ideal  of  the  Maslons,  the  Frilairs, 
and  the  Castanedes  whom  he  had  admired  so  much  in  his 
youth.  To  put  it  shortly,  she  represented  in  his  eyes  the  Paris 
ideal. 

Could  anything  possibly  be  more  humorous  than  believing 
in  the  depth  or  in  the  depravity  of  the  Parisian  character  ? 

It  is  impossible  that  this  trio  is  making  fun  of  me  thought 
Julien.  The  reader  knows  little  of  his  character  if  he  has  not 
begun  already  to  imagine  his  cold  and  gloomy  expression  when 
he  answered  Mathilde's  looks.  A  bitter  irony  rebuffed  those 
assurances  of  friendship  which  the  astonished  mademoiselle  de 
La  Mole  ventured  to  hazard  on  two  or  three  occasions. 

Piqued  by  this  sudden  eccentricity,  the  heart  of  this  young 
girl,  though  naturally  cold,  bored  and  intellectual,  became  as 
impassioned  as  it  was  naturally  capable  of  being.  But  there 
was  also  a  large  element  of  pride  in  Mathilde's  character,  and 
the  birth  of  a  sentiment  which  made  all  her  happiness  de- 
pendent on  another,  was  accompanied  by  a  gloomy  melancholy. 

Julien  had  derived  sufficient  advantage  from  his  stay  in 
Paris  to  appreciate  that  this  was  not  the  frigid  melancholy  of 
ennui.  Instead  of  being  keen  as  she  had  been  on  at-homes, 
theatres,  and  all  kinds  of  distractions,  she  now  shunned  them. 

Music  sung  by  Frenchmen  bored  Mathilde  to  death,  yet 
Julien,  who  always  made  a  point  of  being  present  when  the 
audience  came  out  of  the  Opera,  noticed  that  she  made  a 
point  of  getting  taken  there  as  often  as  she  could.  He  thought 
he  noticed  that  she  had  lost  a  little  of  that  brilliant  neatness  of 
touch  which  used  to  be  manifest  in  everything  she  did.  She 
would  sometimes  answer  her  friends  with  jests  rendered 
positively  outrageous  through  the  sheer  force  of  their  stinging 
energy.  He  thought  that  she  made  a  special  butt  of  the 
marquis  de  Croisenois.  That  young  man  must  be  desperately 
in  love  with  money  not  to  give  the  go-by  to  that  girl,  however 
rich  she  maybe,  thought  Julien.  And  as  for  himself,  indignant 
at  these  outrages  on  masculine  self-respect,  he  redoubled  his 
frigidity  towards  her.  Sometimes  he  went  so  far  as  to  answer 
her  with  scant  courtesy. 

In   spite  of  his   resolution   not   to    become   the   dupe   of 


328       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Mathilde's  signs  of  interest,  these  manifestations  were  so 
palpable  on  certain  days,  and  Julien,  whose  eyes  were  be- 
ginning to  be  opened,  began  to  find  her  so  pretty,  that  he 
was  sometimes  embarrassed. 

"  These  young  people  of  society  will  score  in  the  long  run 
by  their  skill  and  their  coolness  over  my  inexperience,"  he  said 
to  himself.  "  I  must  leave  and  put  an  end  to  all  this."  The 
marquis  had  just  entrusted  him  with  the  administration  of  a 
number  of  small  estates  and  houses  which  he  possessed  in 
Lower  Languedoc.  A  journey  was  necessary;  M.  de  la 
Mole  reluctantly  consented.  Julien  had  become  his  other 
self,  except  in  those  matters  which  concerned  his  political 
career. 

"  So,  when  we  come  to  balance  the  account,"  Julien  said  to 
himself,  as  he  prepared  his  departure,  "  they  have  not  caught 
me.  Whether  the  jests  that  mademoiselle  de  La  Mole  made 
to  those  gentlemen  are  real,  or  whether  they  were  only 
intended  to  inspire  me  with  confidence,  they  have  simply 
amused  me. 

"  If  there  is  no  conspiracy  against  the  carpenter's  son, 
mademoiselle  de  La  Mole  is  an  enigma,  but  at  any  rate,  she  is 
quite  as  much  an  enigma  for  the  marquis  de  Croisenois  as  she 
is  to  me.  Yesterday,  for  instance,  her  bad  temper  was  very 
real,  and  I  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  her  snub,  thanks  to  her 
favour  for  me,  a  young  man  who  is  as  noble  and  as  rich  as  I 
am  a  poor  scoundrel  of  a  plebeian.  That  is  my  finest  triumph ; 
it  will  divert  me  in  my  post-chaise  as  I  traverse  the  Languedoc 
lains." 

He  had  kept  his  departure  a  secret,  but  Mathilde  knew, 
even  better  than  he  did  himself,  that  he  was  going  to  leave 
Paris  the  following  day  for  a  long  time.  She  developed  a 
maddening  headache,  which  was  rendered  worse  by  the  stuffy 
salon.  She  walked  a  great  deal  in  the  garden,  and  persecuted 
Norbert,  the  marquis  de  Croisenois,  Caylus,  de  Luz,  and  some 
other  young  men  who  had  dined  at  the  hotel  de  La  Mole,  to 
such  an  extent  by  her  mordant  witticisms,  that  she  drove  them 
to  take  their  leave.  She  kept  looking  at  Julien  in  a  strange 
way. 

"  Perhaps  that  look  is  a  pose,"  thought  Julien,  "  but  how 
about  that  hurried  breathing  and  all  that  agitation?  Bah," 
he  said  to  himself,  "  who  am  I  to  djuge  of  such  things  ?     We 


A  PLOT  329 

are  dealing  with  the  cream  of  Parisian  sublimity  and  subtlety. 
As  for  that  hurried  breathing  which  was  on  the  point  of 
affecting  me,  she  no  doubt  studied  it  with  Leontine  Fay,  whom 
she  likes  so  much." 

They  were  left  alone;  the  conversation  was  obviously 
languishing.  "No,  Julien  has  no  feeling  for  me,"  said 
Mathilde  to  herself,  in  a  state  of  real  unhappiness. 

As  he  was  taking  leave  of  her  she  took  his  arm  violently. 
"  You  will  receive  a  letter  from  me  this  evening,"  she  said 
to  him   in  a  voice  that  was  so  changed   that  its  tone  was 
scarcely  recognisable. 

This  circumstance  affected  Julien  immediately. 
"  My  father,"  she  continued,  "  has  a  proper  regard  for  the 
services  you  render  him.     You  must  not  leave  to-morrow ;  find 
an  excuse."     And  she  ran  away. 

Her  figure  was  charming.  It  was  impossible  to  have  a 
prettier  foot.  She  ran  with  a  grace  which  fascinated  Julien, 
but  will  the  reader  guess  what  he  began  to  think  about  after 
she  had  finally  left  him  ?  He  felt  wounded  by  the  imperious 
tone  with  which  she  had  said  the  words,  "  you  must."  Louis 
XV.  too,  when  on  his  death-bed,  had  been  keenly  irritated  by 
the  words  "  you  must,"  which  had  been  tactlessly  pronounced 
by  his  first  physician,  and  yet  Louis  XV.  was  not  a  parvenu. 

An  hour  afterwards  a  footman  gave  Julien  a  letter.  It  was 
quite  simply  a  declaration  of  love. 

"  The  style  is  too  affected,"  said  Julien  to  himself,  as  he 
endeavoured  to  control  by  his  literary  criticism  the  joy 
which  was  spreading  over  his  cheeks  and  forcing  him  to  smile 
in  spite  of  himself. 

At  last  his  passionate  exultation  was  too  strong  to  be  con- 
trolled. "  So  I,"  he  suddenly  exclaimed,  "  I,  the  poor  peasant, 
get  a  declaration  of  love  from  a  great  lady." 

"As  for  myself,  I  haven't  done  so  badly,"  he  added, 
restraining  his  joy  as  much  as  he  could.  "  I  have  managed  to 
preserve  my  self-respect.  I  did  not  say  that  I  loved  her." 
He  began  to  study  the  formation  of  the  letters.  Mademoiselle 
de  La  Mole  had  a  pretty  little  English  handwriting.  He 
needed  some  concrete  occupation  to  distract  him  from  a  joy 
which  verged  on  delirium. 

"  Your  departure  forces  me  to  speak.  ...  I  could  not  bear 
not  to  see  you  again." 


330       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

A  thought  had  just  struck  Julien  like  a  new  discovery.  It 
interrupted  his  examination  of  Mathilde's  letter,  and  redoubled 
his  joy.  "So  I  score  over  the  marquis  de  Croisenois,"  he 
exclaimed.  "  Yes,  I  who  could  only  talk  seriously  !  And  he 
is  so  handsome.  He  has  a  moustache  and  a  charming 
uniform.  He  always  manages  to  say  something  witty  and 
clever  just  at  the  psychological  moment." 

Julien  experienced  a  delightful  minute.  He  was  wandering 
at  random  in  the  garden,  mad  with  happiness. 

Afterwards  he  went  up  to  his  desk,  and  had  himself  ushered 
in  to  the  marquis  de  La  Mole,  who  was  fortunately  still  in. 
He  showed  him  several  stamped  papers  which  had  come  from 
Normandy,  and  had  no  difficulty  in  convincing  him  that  he 
was  obliged  to  put  off  his  departure  for  Languedoc  in  order  to 
look  after  the  Normandy  lawsuits. 

"  I  am  very  glad  that  you  are  not  going,"  said  the  marquis 
to  him,  when  they  had  finished  talking  business.  "  I  like 
seeing  you."     Julien  went  out ;  the  words  irritated  him. 

"  And  I — I  am  going  to  seduce  his  daughter  !  and  perhaps 
render  impossible  that  marriage  with  the  marquis  de  Croisenois 
to  which  the  marquis  looks  forward  with  such  delight.  If  he 
does  not  get  made  a  duke,  at  any  rate  his  daughter  will  have 
a  coronet."  Julien  thought  of  leaving  for  Languedoc  in  spite 
of  Mathilde's  letter,  and  in  spite  of  the  explanation  he  had 
just  given  to  the  marquis.  This  flash  of  virtue  quickly 
disappeared. 

"  How  kind  it  is  of  me,"  he  said  to  himself,  "me ...  a  plebeian, 
takes  pity  on  a  family  of  this  rank !  Yes,  me,  whom  the  duke 
of  Chaulnes  calls  a  servant !  How  does  the  marquis  manage 
to  increase  his  immense  fortune  ?  By  selling  stock  when  he 
picks  up  information  at  the  castle  that  there  will  be  a  panic 
of  a  coup  d'etat  on  the  following  day.  And  shall  I,  who 
have  been  flung  down  into  the  lowest  class  by  a  cruel 
providence — I,  whom  providence  has  given  a  noble  heart  but 
not  an  income  of  a  thousand  francs,  that  is  to  say,  not  enough 
to  buy  bread  with,  literally  not  enough  to  buy  bread  with — 
shall  I  refuse  a  pleasure  that  presents  itself?  A  limpid 
fountain  which  will  quench  my  thirst  in  this  scorching  desert 
of  mediocrity  which  I  am  traversing  with  such  difficulty ! 
Upon  my  word,  I  am  not  such  a  fool !  Each  man  for  himself 
in  that  desert  of  egoism  which  is  called  life." 


A  PLOT  33I 

And  he  remembered  certain  disdainful  looks  which  madame 
de  La  Mole,  and  especially  her  lady  friends,  had  favoured  him 
with. 

The  pleasure  of  scoring  over  the  marquis  de  Croisenois 
completed  the  rout  of  this  echo  of  virtue. 

"  How  I  should  like  to  make  him  angry,"  said  Julien. 
"With  what  confidence  would  I  give  him  a  sword  thrust 
now!"  And  he  went  through  the  segoon  thrust.  "Up  till 
now  I  have  been  a  mere  usher,  who  exploited  basely  the  little 
courage  he  had.     After  this  letter  I  am  his  equal. 

"  Yes,"  he  slowly  said  to  himself,  with  an  infinite  pleasure, 
"  the  merits  of  the  marquis  and  myself  have  been  weighed  in 
the  balance,  and  it  is  the  poor  carpenter  from  the  Jura  who 
turns  the  scale. 

"  Good ! "  he  exclaimed,  "  this  is  how  I  shall  sign  my 
answer.  Don't  imagine,  mademoiselle  de  La  Mole,  that  I  am 
forgetting  my  place.  I  will  make  you  realise  and  fully 
appreciate  that  it  is  for  a  carpenter's  son  that  you  are  betraying 
a  descendant  of  the  famous  Guy  de  Croisenois  who  followed 
St.  Louis  to  the  Crusade." 

Julien  was  unable  to  control  his  joy.  He  was  obliged  to 
go  down  into  the  garden.  He  had  locked  himself  in  his 
room,  but  he  found  it  too  narrow  to  breathe  in. 

"  To  think  of  it  being  me,  the  poor  peasant  from  the  Jura," 
he  kept  on  repeating  to  himself,  "  to  think  of  it  being  me  who 
am  eternally  condemned  to  wear  this  gloomy  black  suit  !  Alas 
twenty  years  ago  I  would  have  worn  a  uniform  like  they  do ! 
In  those  days  a  man  like  me  either  got  killed  or  became  a 
general  at  thirty-six.  The  letter  which  he  held  clenched  in 
his  hand  gave  him  a  heroic  pose  and  stature.  Nowadays,  it 
is  true,  if  one  sticks  to  this  black  suit,  one  gets  at  forty  an 
income  of  a  hundred  thousand  francs  and  the  blue  ribbon  like 
my  lord  bishop  of  Beauvais. 

"Well,"  he  said  to  himself  with  a  Mephistophelian  smile, 
"  I  have  more  brains  than  they.  I  am  shrewd  enough  to  choose 
the  uniform  of  my  century.  And  he  felt  a  quickening  of  his 
ambition  and  of  his  attachment  to  his  ecclesiastical  dress. 
What  cardinals  of  even  lower  birth  than  mine  have  not 
succeeded  in  governing !  My  compatriot  Granvelle,  for 
instance." 

Julien's    agitation    became   gradually    calmed !       Prudence 


332       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

emerged  to  the  top.      He  said  to  himself  like  his   master 
Tartufe  whose  part  he  knew  by  heart : 

Je  puis  croire  ces  mots,  un  artifice  honnete. 


Je  ne  me  firai  point  a  des  propos  si  doux, 
Qu'un  peu  de  ses  faveurs  apres  quoi  je  soupire 
Ne  vienne  m'assurer  tout  ce  qu'ils  m'ont  pudire. 

Tartufe,  act  iv.  Scene  v. 

"Tartufe,  too,  was  ruined  by  a  woman,  and  he  was  as  good 
as  most  men  ....  My  answer  may  be  shown  .... 
and  the  way  out  of  that  is  this,"  he  added  pronouncing  his 
words  slowly  with  an  intonation  of  deliberate  and  restrained 
ferocity.  "  We  will  begin  by  quoting  the  most  vivid  passages 
from  the  letter  of  the  sublime  Mathilde." 

"  Quite  so,  but  M.  de  Croisenois'  lackeys  will  hurl  them- 
selves upon  me  and  snatch  the  original  away." 

"  No,  they  won't,  for  I  am  well  armed,  and  as  we  know  I 
am  accustomed  to  firing  on  lackeys." 

"Well,  suppose  one  of  them  has  courage,  and  hurls  himself 
upon  me.  He  has  been  promised  a  hundred  napoleons.  I 
kill  him,  or  wound  him,  good,  that's  what  they  want.  I  shall 
be  thrown  into  prison  legally.  I  shall  be  had  up  in  the  police 
court  and  the  judges  will  send  me  with  all  justice  and  all 
equity  to  keep  Messieurs  Fontan  and  Magalon  company  in 
Poissy.  There  I  shall  be  landed  in  the  middle  of  four 
hundred  scoundrels  ....  And  am  I  to  have  the 
slightest  pity  on  these  people,"  he  exclaimed  getting  up  im- 
petuously !  "  Do  they  show  any  to  persons  of  the  third  estate 
when  they  have  them  in  their  power  ! "  With  these  words  his 
gratitude  to  M.  de  La  Mole,  which  had  been  in  spite  of  himself 
torturing  his  conscience  up  to  this  time,  breathed  its  last. 

"  Softly,  gentlemen,  I  follow  this  little  Macchiavellian  trick, 
the  abbe  Maslon  or  M.  Castanede  of  the  seminary  could  not 
have  done  better.  You  will  take  the  provocative  letter  away 
from  me  and  I  shall  exemplify  the  second  volume  of  Colonel 
Caron  at  Colmar." 

"  One  moment,  gentlemen,  I  will  send  the  fatal  letter  in  a 
well-sealed  packet  to  M.  the  abbe  Pirard  to  take  care  of.  He's 
an  honest  man,  a  Jansenist,  and  consequently  incorruptible. 
Yes,  but  he  will  open  the  letters  .  .  .  Fouque  is  the  man 
to  whom  I  must  send  it." 


A  PLOT  333 

We  must  admit  that  Julien's  expression  was  awful,  his 
countenance  ghastly ;  it  breathed  unmitigated  criminality.  It 
represented  the  unhappy  man  at  war  with  all  society. 

"To  arms,"  exclaimed  Julien.  And  he  bounded  up  the 
flight  of  steps  of  the  hotel  with  one  stride.  He  entered  the 
stall  of  the  street  scrivener ;  he  frightened  him.  "  Copy  this," 
he  said,  giving  him  mademoiselle  de  La  Mole's  letter. 

While  the  scrivener  was  working,  he  himself  wrote  to 
Fouque.  He  asked  him  to  take  care  of  a  valuable  deposit. 
"  But  he  said  to  himself,"  breaking  in  upon  his  train  of 
thought,  "  the  secret  service  of  the  post-office  will  open  my 
letter,  and  will  give  you  gentlemen  the  one  you  are  looking 
for  ...  .  not  quite,  gentlemen."  He  went  and  bought 
an  enormous  Bible  from  a  Protestant  bookseller,  skilfully  hid 
Mathilde's  letter  in  the  cover,  and  packed  it  all  up.  His 
parcel  left  by  the  diligence  addressed  to  one  of  Fouque's 
workmen,  whose  name  was  known  to  nobody  at  Paris. 

This  done,  he  returned  to  the  h6tel  de  La  Mole,  joyous  and 
buoyant. 

Now  it's  our  turn  he  exclaimed  as  he  locked  himself  into  the 
room  and  threw  off  his  coat. 

"  What !  mademoiselle,"  he  wrote  to  Mathilde,  "  is  it 
mademoiselle  de  La  Mole  who  gets  Arsene  her  father's  lackey 
to  hand  an  only  too  flattering  letter  to  a  poor  carpenter  from 
the  Jura,  in  order  no  doubt  to  make  fun  of  his  simplicity  ?  " 
And  he  copied  out  the  most  explicit  phrases  in  the  letter 
which  he  had  just  received.  His  own  letter  would  have  done 
honour  to  the  diplomatic  prudence  of  M.  the  Chevalier  de 
Beauvoisis.  It  was  still  only  ten  o'clock  when  Julien  entered 
the  Italian  opera,  intoxicated  with  happiness  and  that  feeling 
of  his  own  power  which  was  so  novel  for  a  poor  devil  like  him. 
He  heard  his  friend  Geronimo  sing.  Music  had  never  exalted 
him  to  such  a  pitch. 


CHAPTER  XLIV 

A   YOUNG   GIRL'S    THOUGHTS 

What  perplexity  !  What  sleepless  nights  !  Great  God. 
Am  I  going  to  make  myself  contemptible?  He  will 
despise  me  himself.    But  he  is  leaving,  he  is  going  away. 

Alfred  de  Musset. 

Mathilde  had  not  written  without  a  struggle.  Whatever 
might  have  been  the  beginning  of  her  interest  in  Julien,  it 
soon  dominated  that  pride  which  had  reigned  unchallenged  in 
her  heart  since  she  had  begun  to  know  herself.  This  cold 
and  haughty  soul  was  swept  away  for  the  first  time  by  a 
sentiment  of  passion,  but  if  this  passion  dominated  her  pride, 
it  still  kept  faithfully  to  the  habits  of  that  pride.  Two  months 
of  struggles  and  new  sensations  had  transformed,  so  to  speak 
her  whole  moral  life. 

Mathilde  thought  she  was  in  sight  of  happiness.  This  vista, 
irresistible  as  it  is  for  those  who  combine  a  superior  intellect 
with  a  courageous  soul,  had  to  struggle  for  a  long  time  against 
her  self  respect  and  all  her  vulgar  duties.  One  day  she  went 
into  her  mother's  room  at  seven  o'clock  in  the  morning  and 
asked  permission  to  take  refuge  in  Villequier.  The  marquise 
did  not  even  deign  to  answer  her,  and  advised  her  to  go  back 
to  bed.  This  was  the  last  effort  of  vulgar  prudence  and 
respect  for  tradition. 

The  fear  of  doing  wrong  and  of  offending  those  ideas  which 
the  Caylus's,  the  de  Luz's,  the  Croisenois'  held  for  sacred  had 
little  power  over  her  soul.  She  considered  such  creatures 
incapable  of  understanding  her.  She  would  have  consulted 
them,  if  it  had  been  a  matter  of  buying  a  carriage  or  an  estate. 
Her  real  fear  was  that  Julien  was  displeased  with  her. 

"  Perhaps  he,  too,  has  only  the  appearance  of  a  superior 
man?" 


A  YOUNG  GIRL'S  THOUGHTS  335 

She  abhorred  lack  of  character ;  that  was  her  one  objection 
to  the  handsome  young  men  who  surrounded  her.  The  more 
they  made  elegant  fun  of  everything  which  deviated  from  the 
prevailing  mode,  or  which  conformed  to  it  but  indifferently, 
the  lower  they  fell  in  her  eyes. 

They  were  brave  and  that  was  all.  "  And  after  all  in  what 
way  were  they  brave  ?  "  she  said  to  herself.  "  In  duels,  but 
the  duel  is  nothing  more  than  a  formality.  The  whole  thing 
is  mapped  out  beforehand,  even  the  correct  thing  to  say  when 
you  fall.  Stretched  on  the  turf,  and  with  your  hand  on  your 
heart,  you  must  vouchsafe  a  generous  forgiveness  to  the 
adversary,  and  a  few  words  for  a  fair  lady,  who  is  often 
imaginary,  or  if  she  does  exist,  will  go  to  a  ball  on  the  day  of 
your  death  for  fear  of  arousing  suspicion." 

"  One  braves  danger  at  the  head  of  a  squadron  brilliant 
with  steel,  but  how  about  that  danger  which  is  solitary, 
strange,  unforeseen  and  really  ugly." 

"  Alas,"  said  Mathilde  to  herself,  "  it  was  at  the  court  of 
Henri  III.  that  men  who  were  great  both  by  character  and  by 
birth  were  to  be  found  !  Yes  !  If  Julien  had  served  at  Jarnac 
or  Moncontour,  I  should  no  longer  doubt.  In  those  days  of 
strength  and  vigour  Frenchmen  were  not  dolls.  The  day  of  the 
battle  was  almost  the  one  which  presented  the  fewest  problems." 

Their  life  was  not  imprisoned,  like  an  Egyptian  mummy 
in  a  covering  which  was  common  to  all,  and  always  the  same. 
"  Yes,"  she  added,  "  there  was  more  real  courage  in  going 
home  alone  at  eleven  o'clock  in  the  evening  when  one  came 
out  of  the  hotel  de  Soissons  where  Catherine  de  M^dicis 
lived  than  there  is  nowadays  in  running  over  to  Algiers.  A 
man's  life  was  then  a  series  of  hazards.  Nowadays  civilisation 
has  banished  hazard.  There  are  no  more  surprises.  If  any- 
thing new  appears  in  any  idea  there  are  not  sufficient  epigrams 
to  immortalise  it,  but  if  anything  new  appears  in  actual  life, 
our  panic  reaches  the  lowest  depth  of  cowardice.  Whatever 
folly  panic  makes  us  commit  is  excused.  What  a  degenerate 
and  boring  age  !  What  would  Boniface  de  la  Mole  have 
said  if,  lifting  his  cut-off  head  out  of  the  tomb,  he  had  seen 
seventeen  of  his  descendants  allow  themselves  to  be  caught 
like  sheep  in  1793  in  order  to  be  guillotined  two  days  after- 
wards !  Death  was  certain,  but  it  would  have  been  bad  form 
to  have  defended  themselves  and  to  have  killed  at  least  one  or 


336       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

two  Jacobins.  Yes  !  in  the  heroic  days  of  France,  in  the  age 
of  Boniface  de  La  Mole,  Julien  would  have  been  the  chief  of  a 
squadron,  while  my  brother  would  have  been  the  young  priest 
with  decorous  manners,  with  wisdom  in  his  eyes  and  reason  on 
his  lips."  Some  months  previously  Mathilde  had  given  up  all 
hope  of  meeting  any  being  who  was  a  little  different  from  the 
common  pattern.  She  had  found  some  happiness  in  allowing 
herself  to  write  to  some  young  society  men.  This  rash  pro- 
cedure, which  was  so  unbecoming  and  so  imprudent  in  a  young 
girl,  might  have  disgraced  her  in  the  eyes  of  M.  de  Croisenois, 
the  Duke  de  Chaulnes,  his  father,  and  the  whole  hotel  de 
Chaulnes,  who  on  seeing  the  projected  marriage  broken  off 
would  have  wanted  to  know  the  reason.  At  that  time 
Mathilde  had  been  unable  to  sleep  on  those  days  when  she 
had  written  one  of  her  letters.  But  those  letters  were  only 
answers.  But  now  she  ventured  to  declare  her  own  love. 
She  wrote  first  (what  a  terrible  word !)  to  a  man  of  the 
lowest  social  grade. 

This  circumstance  rendered  her  eternal  disgrace  quite  in- 
evitable in  the  event  of  detection.  Who  of  the  women  who 
visited  her  mother  would  have  dared  to  take  her  part  ?  What 
official  excuse  could  be  evolved  which  could  successfully  cope 
with  the  awful  contempt  of  society. 

Besides  speaking  was  awful  enough,  but  writing  !  "  There 
are  some  things  which  are  not  written  ! "  Napoleon  had  ex- 
claimed on  learning  of  the  capitulation  of  Baylen.  And  it 
was  Julien  who  had  told  her  that  epigram,  as  though  giving 
her  a  lesson  that  was  to  come  in  useful  subsequently. 

But  all  this  was  comparatively  unimportant,  Mathilde's 
anguish  had  other  causes.  Forgetting  the  terrible  effect  it 
would  produce  on  society,  and  the  ineffable  blot  on  her 
scutcheon  that  would  follow  such  an  outrage  on  her  own  caste, 
Mathilde  was  going  to  write  to  a  person  of  a  very  different 
character  to  the  Croisenois',  the  de  Luz's,  the  Caylus's. 

She  would  have  been  frightened  at  the  depth  and  mystery 
in  Julien's  character,  even  if  she  had  merely  entered  into 
a  conventional  acquaintance  with  him.  And  she  was  going  to 
make  him  her  lover,  perhaps  her  master. 

"  What  will  his  pretensions  not  be,  if  he  is  ever  in  a  posi- 
tion to  do  everything  with  me  ?  Well !  I  shall  say,  like 
Medea  :  Au  milieu  de  tant  de  perils  il  me  reste  Moi." 


A  YOUNG  GIRL'S  THOUGHTS  337 

She  believed  that  Julien  had  no  respect  for  nobility  of  blood. 
What  was  more,  he  probably  did  not  love  her. 

In  these  last  moments  of  awful  doubt  her  feminine  pride 
suggested  to  her  certain  ideas.  "  Everything  is  bound  to  be 
extraordinary  in  the  life  of  a  girl  like  me,"  exclaimed  Mathilde 
impatiently.  The  pride,  which  had  been  drilled  into  her  since 
her  cradle,  began  to  struggle  with  her  virtue.  It  was  at  this 
moment  that  Julien's  departure  precipitated  everything. 

(Such  characters  are  luckily  very  rare.) 

Very  late  in  the  evening,  Julien  was  malicious  enough  to 
have  a  very  heavy  trunk  taken  down  to  the  porter's  lodge.  He 
called  the  valet,  who  was  courting  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's 
chambermaid,  to  move  it.  "  This  manoeuvre  cannot  result  in 
anything,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  but  if  it  does  succeed,  she  will 
think  that  I  have  gone."  Very  tickled  by  this  humorous 
thought,  he  fell  asleep.     Mathilde  did  not  sleep  a  wink. 

Julien  left  the  hotel  very  early  the  next  morning  without 
being  seen,  but  he  came  back  before  eight  o'clock. 

He  had  scarcely  entered  the  library  before  M.  de  la  Mole 
appeared  on  the  threshold.  He  handed  her  his  answer.  He 
thought  that  it  was  his  duty  to  speak  to  her,  it  was  certainly 
perfectly  feasible,  but  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  would  not 
listen  to  him  and  disappeared.  Julien  was  delighted.  He 
did  not  know  what  to  say. 

"  If  all  this  is  not  a  put  up  job  with  comte  Norbert,  it  is 
clear  that  it  is  my  cold  looks  which  have  kindled  the  strange 
love  which  this  aristocratic  girl  chooses  to  entertain  for  me. 
I  should  be  really  too  much  of  a  fool  if  I  ever  allowed  myself 
to  take  a  fancy  to  that  big  blonde  doll."  This  train  of  reason- 
ing left  him  colder  and  more  calculating  than  he  had  ever 
been. 

"  In  the  battle  for  which  we  are  preparing,"  he  added, 
"  pride  of  birth  will  be  like  a  high  hill  which  constitutes  a 
military  position  between  her  and  me.  That  must  be  the 
field  of  the  manoeuvres.  I  made  a  great  mistake  in  staying  in 
Paris ;  this  postponing  of  my  departure  cheapens  and  exposes 
me,  if  all  this  is  simply  a  trick.  What  danger  was  there  in 
leaving  ?  If  they  were  making  fun  of  me,  I  was  making  fun 
of  them.  If  her  interest  for  me  was  in  any  way  real,  I  was 
making  that  interest  a  hundred  times  more  intense." 

Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's  letter  had  given  Julien's  vanity 

22 


338       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

so  keen  a  pleasure,  that  wreathed  as  he  was  in  smiles  at  his 
good  fortune  he  had  forgotten  to  think  seriously  about  the 
propriety  of  leaving. 

It  was  one  of  the  fatal  elements  of  his  character  to  be 
extremely  sensitive  to  his  own  weaknesses.  He  was  extremely 
upset  by  this  one,  and  had  almost  forgotten  the  incredible 
victory  which  had  preceded  this  slight  check,  when  about 
nine  o'clock  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  appeared  on  the  thres- 
hold of  the  library,  flung  him  a  letter  and  ran  away. 

"  So  this  is  going  to  be  the  romance  by  letters,"  he  said 
as  he  picked  it  up.  "  The  enemy  makes  a  false  move ;  I  will 
reply  by  coldness  and  virtue." 

He  was  asked  with  a  poignancy  which  merely  increased  his 
inner  gaiety  to  give  a  definite  answer.  He  indulged  in  the 
pleasure  of  mystifying  those  persons  who  he  thought  wanted 
to  make  fun  of  him  for  two  pages,  and  it  was  out  of  humour 
again  that  he  announced  towards  the  end  of  his  answer  his 
definite  departure  on  the  following  morning. 

11  The  garden  will  be  a  useful  place  to  hand  her  the  letter," 
he  thought  after  he  had  finished  it,  and  he  went  there.  He 
looked  at  the  window  of  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's  room. 

It  was  on  the  first  storey,  next  to  her  mother's  apartment, 
but  there  was  a  large  ground  floor. 

This  latter  was  so  high  that,  as  Julien  walked  under  the 
avenue  of  pines  with  his  letter  in  his  hands,  he  could  not  be 
seen  from  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's  window.  The  dome 
formed  by  the  well  clipped  pines  intercepted  the  view. 
"  What !"  said  Julien  to  himself  angrily,  "  another  indiscretion  ! 
If  they  have  really  begun  making  fun  of  me,  showing  myself 
with  a  letter  is  playing  into  my  enemy's  hands." 

Norbert's  room  was  exactly  above  his  sister's  and  if  Julien 
came  out  from  under  the  dome  formed  by  the  clipped  branches 
of  the  pine,  the  comte  and  his  friend  could  follow  all  his 
movements. 

Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  appeared  behind  her  window ;  he 
half  showed  his  letter ;  she  lowered  her  head,  then  Julien  ran 
up  to  his  own  room  and  met  accidently  on  the  main  staircase 
the  fair  Mathilde,  who  seized  the  letter  with  complete  self- 
possession  and  smiling  eyes. 

"  What  passion  there  was  in  the  eyes  of  that  poor  madame 
de  Renal,"  said  Julien  to  himself,   "  when  she  ventured  to 


A  YOUNG  GIRL'S  THOUGHTS  339 

receive  a  letter  from  me,  even  after  six  months  of  intimate 
relationship  !  I  don't  think  she  ever  looked  at  me  with 
smiling  eyes  in  her  whole  life." 

He  did  not  formulate  so  precisely  the  rest  of  his  answer ; 
was  he  perhaps  ashamed  of  the  triviality  of  the  motive  which 
were  actuating  him  ? 

"  But  how  different  too,"  he  went  on  to  think,  "  are  her 
elegant  morning  dress  and  her  distinguished  appearance  !  A 
man  of  taste  on  seeing  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  thirty  yards  off 
would  infer  the  position  which  she  occupies  in  society. 
That  is  what  can  be  called  a  specific  merit." 

In  spite  of  all  this  humorousness,  Julien  was  not  yet  quite 
honest  with  himself;  rnadame  de  Renal  had  no  marquis  de 
Croisenois  to  sacrifice  to  him.  His  only  rival  was  that 
grotesque  sub-prefect,  M.  Charcot,  who  assumed  the  name  of 
Maugiron,  because  there  were  no  Maugirons  left  in  France. 

At  five  o'clock  Julien  received  a  third  letter.  It  was  thrown 
to  him  from  the  library  door.  Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  ran 
away  again.  "  What  a  mania  for  writing,"  he  said  to  himself 
with  a  laugh,  "  when  one  can  talk  so  easily.  The  enemy 
wants  my  letters,  that  is  clear,  and  many  of  them."  He  did  not 
hurry  to  open  this  one.  "  More  elegant  phrases,"  he  thought ; 
but  he  paled  as  he  read  it.     There  were  only  eight  lines. 

"  I  need  to  speak  to  you  ;  I  must  speak  to  you  this  evening. 
Be  in  the  garden  at  the  moment  when  one  o'clock  is  striking. 
Take  the  big  gardeners'  ladder  near  the  well ;  place  it  against 
my  window,  and  climb  up  to  my  room.  It  is  moonlight ; 
never  mind." 


CHAPTER  XLV 

IS    IT   A    PLOT  ? 

Oh,  how  cruel  is  the  interval  between  the  conception 
and  the  execution  of  a  great  project.  What  vain  fears, 
what  fits  of  irresolution !  It  is  a  matter  of  life  and 
death — even  more  is  at  stake  honour  ! — Schiller. 

"  This  is  getting  serious,"  thought  Julien,  "  and  a  little  too 
clear,"  he  added  after  thinking  a  little.  "  Why  to  be  sure  ! 
This  fine  young  lady  can  talk  to  me  in  the  library  with  a  free- 
dom which,  thank  heaven,  is  absolutely  complete ;  the  marquis, 
frightened  as  he  is  that  I  show  him  accounts,  never  sets  foot  in 
it.  Why !  M.  de  la  Mole  and  the  comte  Norbert,  the  only 
persons  who  ever  come  here,  are  absent  nearly  the  whole  day, 
and  the  sublime  Mathilde  for  whom  a  sovereign  prince  would 
not  be  too  noble  a  suitor,  wants  me  to  commit  an  abominable 
indiscretion. 

"  It  is  clear  they  want  to  ruin  me,  or  at  the  least  make  fun 
of  me.  First  they  wanted  to  ruin  me  by  my  own  letters ;  they 
happen  to  be  discreet ;  well,  they  want  some  act  which  is 
clearer  than  daylight.  These  handsome  little  gentlemen  think 
I  am  too  silly  or  too  conceited.  The  devil !  To  think  of  climb- 
ing like  this  up  a  ladder  to  a  storey  twenty-five  feet  high  in  the 
finest  moonlight.  They  would  have  time  to  see  me,  even  from 
the  neighbouring  houses.  I  shall  cut  a  pretty  figure  to  be  sure 
on  my  ladder  !  "  Julien  went  up  to  his  room  again  and  began 
to  pack  his  trunk  whistling.  He  had  decided  to  leave  and  not 
even  to  answer. 

But  this  wise  resolution  did  not  give  him  peace  of  mind. 
"  If  by  chance,"  he  suddenly  said  to  himself  after  he  had 
closed  his  trunk,  "  Mathilde  is  in  good  faith,  why  then  I 
cut  the  figure  of  an  arrant  coward   in  her   eyes.      I   have 


IS  IT  A  PLOT?  341 

no  birth  myself,  so  I  need  great  qualities  attested  straight 
away  by  speaking  actions — money  down — no  charitable 
credit." 

He  spent  a  quarter-of-an-hour  in  reflecting.  "  What  is  the 
good  of  denying  it  ?  "  he  said  at  last.  "  She  will  think  me  a 
coward.  I  shall  lose  not  only  the  most  brilliant  person  in 
high  society,  as  they  all  said  at  M.  the  duke  de  Retz's  ball,  but 
also  the  heavenly  pleasure  of  seeing  the  marquis  de  Croisenois, 
the  son  of  a  duke,  who  will  be  one  day  a  duke  himself,  sacrificed 
to  me.  A  charming  young  man  who  has  all  the  qualities  I 
lack.     A  happy  wit,  birth,  fortune 

"  This  regret  will  haunt  me  all  my  life,  not  on  her  account, 
'  there  are  so  many  mistresses  !  .  .  .  but  there  is  only  one 
honour ! '  says  old  don  Diego.  And  here  am  I  clearly 
and  palpably  shrinking  from  the  first  danger  that  presents 
itself;  for  the  duel  with  M.  de  Beauvoisis  was  simply  a  joke. 
This  is  quite  different.  A  servant  may  fire  at  me  point  blank, 
but  that  is  the  least  danger  ;  I  may  be  disgraced. 

"  This  is  getting  serious,  my  boy,"  he  added  with  a  Gascon 
gaiety  and  accent.  "  Honour  is  at  stake.  A  poor  devil  flung 
by  chance  into  as  low  a  grade  as  I  am  will  never  find  such  an 
opportunity  again.  I  shall  have  my  conquests,  but  they  will 
be  inferior  ones " 

He  reflected  for  a  long  time,  he  walked  up  and  down 
hurriedly,  and  then  from  time  to  time  would  suddenly  stop. 
A  magnificent  marble  bust  of  cardinal  de  Richelieu  had  been 
placed  in  his  room.  It  attracted  his  gaze  in  spite  of  himself. 
This  bust  seemed  to  look  at  him  severely  as  though  reproach- 
ing him  with  the  lack  of  that  audacity  which  ought  to  be  so 
natural  to  the  French  character.  "-Would  I  have  hesitated  in 
your  age  great  man  ?  " 

"  At  the  worst,"  said  Julien  to  himself,  "  suppose  all  this  is 
a  trap,  it  is  pretty  black  and  pretty  compromising  for  a  young 
girl.  They  know  that  I  am  not  the  man  to  hold  my  tongue. 
They  will  therefore  have  to  kill  me.  That  was  right  enough 
in  1574  in  the  days  of  Boniface  de  la  Mole,  but  nobody  to- 
day would  ever  have  the  pluck.  They  are  not  the  same  men. 
Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  is  the  object  of  so  much  jealousy. 
Four  hundred  salons  would  ring  with  her  disgrace  to-morrow, 
and  how  pleased  they  would  all  be. 

"  The  servants  gossip  among  themselves  about  marked  the 


342       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

favours  of  which  I  am  the  recipient.  I  know  it,  I  have  heard 
them 

"  On  the  other  hand  they're  her  letters.  They  may  think 
that  I  have  them  on  me.  They  may  surprise  me  in  her  room 
and  take  them  from  me.  I  shall  have  to  deal  with  two,  three, 
or  four  men.  How  can  I  tell  ?  But  where  are  they  going  to 
find  these  men  ?     Where  are  they  to  find  discreet  subordinates 

in  Paris  ?     Justice  frightens  them By  God  !     It  may 

be  the  Caylus's,  the  Croisenois',  the  de  Luz's  themselves. 
The  idea  of  the  ludicrous  figure  I  should  cut  in  the  middle  of 
them  at  the  particular  minute  may  have  attracted  them. 
Look  out  for  the  fate  of  Abailard,  M.  the  secretary. 

11  Well,  by  heaven,  I'll  mark  you.  I'll  strike  at  your  faces 
like  Caesar's  soldiers  at  Pharsalia.  As  for  the  letters,  I  can 
put  them  in  a  safe  place." 

Julien  copied  out  the  two  last,  hid  them  in  a  fine  volume  of 
Voltaire  in  the  library  and  himself  took  the  originals  to  the 
post. 

"  What  folly  am  I  going  to  rush  into,"  he  said  to  himself 
with  surprise  and  terror  when  he  returned.  He  had  been  a 
quarter  of  an  hour  without  contemplating  what  he  was  to  do 
on  this  coming  night. 

"  But  if  I  refuse,  I  am  bound  to  despise  myself  afterwards. 
This  matter  will  always  occasion  me  great  doubt  during  my 
whole  life,  and  to  a  man  like  me  such  doubts  are  the  most 
poignant  unhappiness.  Did  I  not  feel  like  that  for  Amanda's 
lover  !  I  think  I  would  find  it  easier  to  forgive  myself  for  a 
perfectly  clear  crime ;  once  admitted,  I  could  leave  off  thinking 
of  it. 

"  Why  !  I  shall  have  been  the  rival  of  a  man  who  bears  one 
of  the  finest  names  in  France,  and  then  out  of  pure  light- 
heartedness,  declared  myself  his  inferior  !  After  all,  it  is 
cowardly  not  to  go ;  these  words  clinch  everything,"  exclaimed 
Julien  as  he  got  up  ...  "  besides  she  is  quite  pretty." 

"  If  this  is  not  a  piece  of  treachery,  what  a  folly  is  she  not 
committing  for  my  sake.  If  it's  a  piece  of  mystification,  by 
heaven,  gentlemen,  it  only  depends  on  me  to  turn  the  jest 
into  earnest  and  that  I  will  do. 

"  But  supposing  they  tie  my  hands  together  at  the  moment 
I  enter  the  room  :  they  may  have  placed  some  ingenious 
machine  there. 


IS  IT  A  PLOT?  343 

"  It's  like  a  duel,"  he  said  to  himself  with  a  laugh.  "  Every- 
one makes  a  full  parade,  says  my  niatre  tTarmes,  but  the 
good  God,  who  wishes  the  thing  to  end,  makes  one  of  them 
forget  to  parry.  Besides,  here's  something  to  answer  them 
with."  He  drew  his  pistols  out  of  his  pocket,  and  although 
the  priming  was  shining,  he  renewed  it. 

There  was  still  several  hours  to  wait.  Julien  wrote  to 
Fouque  in  order  to  have  something  to  do.  "  My  friend,  do 
not  open  the  enclosed  letter  except  in  the  event  of  an 
accident,  if  you  hear  that  something  strange  has  happened  to 
me.  In  that  case  blot  out  the  proper  names  in  the  manuscript 
which  I  am  sending  you,  make  eight  copies  of  it,  and  send  it 
to  the  papers  of  Marseilles,  Bordeaux,  Lyons,  Brussels,  etc. 
Ten  days  later  have  the  manuscript  printed,  send  the  first 
copy  to  M.  the  marquis  de  la  Mole,  and  a  fortnight  after  that 
throw  the  other  copies  at  night  into  the  streets  of  Verrieres. 

Julien  made  this  little  memoir  in  defence  of  his  position 
as  little  compromising  as  possible  for  mademoiselle  de  la 
Mole.  Fouque  was  only  to  open  it  in  the  event  of  an 
accident.  It  was  put  in  the  form  of  a  story,  but  in  fact  it 
exactly  described  his  situation. 

Julien  had  just  fastened  his  packet  when  the  dinner  bell 
rang.  It  made  his  heart  beat.  His  imagination  was  distracted 
by  the  story  which  he  had  just  composed,  and  fell  a  prey  to 
tragic  presentiments.  He  saw  himself  seized  by  servants, 
trussed,  and  taken  into  a  cellar  with  a  gag  in  his  mouth.  A 
servant  was  stationed  there,  who  never  let  him  out  of  sight, 
and  if  the  family  honour  required  that  the  adventure  should 
have  a  tragic  end,  it  was  easy  to  finish  everything  with  those 
poisons  which  leave  no  trace.  They  could  then  say  that  he 
had  died  of  an  illness  and  would  carry  his  dead  body  back  into 
his  room. 

Thrilled  like  a  dramatic  author  by  his  own  story,  Julien 
was  really  afraid  when  he  entered  the  dining-room.  He 
looked  at  all  those  liveried  servants — he  studied  their  faces. 
"Which  ones  are  chosen  for  to-night's  expedition?"  he  said 
to  himself.  "The  memories  of  the  court  of  Henri  III.  are  so 
vivid  in  this  family,  and  so  often  recalled,  that  if  they  think 
they  have  been  insulted  they  will  show  more  resolution  than 
other  persons  of  the  same  rank."  He  looked  at  mademoiselle 
de  la  Mole  in  order  to  read  the  family  plans  in  her  eyes ;  she 


344  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

was  pale  and  looked  quite  middle-aged.  He  thought  that  she 
had  never  looked  so  great :  she  was  really  handsome  and 
imposing ;  he  almost  fell  in  love  with  her.  "  Pallida  morte 
futura?  he  said  to  himself  (her  pallor  indicates  her  great 
plans).  It  was  in  vain  that  after  dinner  he  made  a  point  of 
walking  for  a  long  time  in  the  garden,  mademoiselle  did  not 
appear.  Speaking  to  her  at  that  moment  would  have  lifted  a 
great  weight  off  his  heart. 

Why  not  admit  it  ?  he  was  afraid.  As  he  had  resolved  to 
act,  he  was  not  ashamed  to  abandon  himself  to  this  emotion. 
"So  long  as  I  show  the  necessary  courage  at  the  actual 
moment,"  he  said  to  himself,  "  what  does  it  matter  what  I 
feel  at  this  particular  moment  ?  "  He  went  to  reconnoitre  the 
situation  and  find  out  the  weight  of  the  ladder. 

"This  is  an  instrument,"  he  said  to  himself  with  a  smile, 
"  which  I  am  fated  to  use  both  here  and  at  Verrieres.  What 
a  difference  !  In  those  days,"  he  added  with  a  sigh,  "  I  was 
not  obliged  to  distrust  the  person  for  whom  I  exposed  myself 
to  danger.     What  a  difference  also  in  the  danger ! " 

"There  would  have  been  no  dishonour  for  me  if  I  had 
been  killed  in  M.  de  Renal's  gardens.  It  would  have  been 
easy  to  have  made  my  death  into  a  mystery.  But  here  all 
kinds  of  abominable  scandal  will  be  talked  in  the  salons  of 
the  hotel  de  Chaulnes,  the  hotel  de  Caylus,  de  Retz,  etc., 
everywhere  in  fact.  I  shall  go  down  to  posterity  as  a  monster." 
"  For  two  or  three  years,"  he  went  on  with  a  laugh,  making 
fun  of  himself;  but  the  idea  paralysed  him.  "  And  how  am 
I  going  to  manage  to  get  justified  ?  Suppose  that  Fouque 
does  print  my  posthumous  pamphlet,  it  will  only  be  taken  for 
an  additional  infamy.  Why  !  I  get  received  into  a  house,  and 
I  reward  the  hospitality  which  I  have  received,  the  kindness 
with  which  I  have  been  loaded  by  printing  a  pamphlet  about 
what  has  happened  and  attacking  the  honour  of  women ! 
Nay  !  I'd  a  thousand  times  rather  be  duped." 
The  evening  was  awful. 


CHAPTER  XLVI 

ONE    O'CLOCK  IN  THE   MORNING 

This  garden  was  very  big,  it  had  been  planned  a  few  years  ago  in 
perfect  taste.  But  the  trees  were  more  than  a  century  old.  It 
had  a  certain  rustic  atmosphere. — Massinger. 

He  was  going  to  write  a  countermanding  letter  to  Fouque 
when  eleven  o'clock  struck.  He  noisily  turned  the  lock  of 
the  door  of  his  room  as  though  he  had  locked  himself  in. 
He  went  with  a  sleuth-like  step  to  observe  what  was  happen- 
ing over  the  house,  especially  on  the  fourth  storey  where 
the  servants  slept.  There  was  nothing  unusual.  One  of 
madame  de  la  Mole's  chambermaids  was  giving  an  entertain- 
ment, the  servants  were  taking  punch  with  much  gaiety. 
"Those  who  laugh  like  that,"  thought  Julien,  "cannot  be 
participating  in  the  nocturnal  expedition ;  if  they  were,  they 
would  be  more  serious." 

Eventually  he  stationed  himself  in  an  obscure  corner  of  the 
garden.  "  If  their  plan  is  to  hide  themselves  from  the 
servants  of  the  house,  they  will  despatch  the  persons  whom  they 
have  told  off  to  surprise  me  over  the  garden  wall. 

"  If  M.  de  Croisenois  shows  any  sense  of  proportion  in  this 
matter,  he  is  bound  to  find  it  less  compromising  for  the  young 
person,  whom  he  wishes  to  make  his  wife  if  he  has  me 
surprised  before  I  enter  her  room." 

He  made  a  military  and  extremely  detailed  reconnaissance. 
"  My  honour  is  at  stake,"  he  thought.  "  If  I  tumble  into 
some  pitfall  it  will  not  be  an  excuse  in  my  own  eyes  to  say, 
*  I  never  thought  of  it.'  " 

The  weather  was  desperately  serene.  About  eleven  o'clock 
the  moon  rose,  at  half-past  twelve  it  completely  illuminated 
the  facade  of  the  hotel  looking  out  upon  the  garden. 


346       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"She  is  mad,"  Julien  said  to  himself.  As  one  o'clock 
struck  there  was  still  a  light  in  comte  Norbert's  windows. 
Julien  had  never  been  so  frightened  in  his  life,  he  only  saw 
the  dangers  of  the  enterprise  and  had  no  enthusiasm  at  all. 
He  went  and  took  the  immense  ladder,  waited  five  minutes  to 
give  her  time  to  tell  him  not  to  go,  and  five  minutes  after  one 
placed  the  ladder  against  Mathilde's  window.  He  mounted 
softly,  pistol  in  hand,  astonished  at  not  being  attacked.  As 
he  approached  the  window  it  opened  noiselessly. 

"  So  there  you  are,  monsieur,"  said  Mathilde  to  him  with 
considerable  emotion.  "  I  have  been  following  your  move- 
ments for  the  last  hour." 

Julien  was  very  much  embarrassed.  He  did  not  know  how 
to  conduct  himself.  He  did  not  feel  at  all  in  love.  He 
thought  in  his  embarrassment  that  he  ought  to  be  venture- 
some.    He  tried  to  kiss  Mathilde. 

"  For  shame,"  she  said  to  him,  pushing  him  away. 

Extremely  glad  at  being  rebuffed,  he  hastened  to  look 
round  him.  The  moon  was  so  brilliant  that  the  shadows 
which  it  made  in  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's  room  were  black. 
"  It's  quite  possible  for  men  to  be  concealed  without  my  seeing 
them,"  be  thought. 

"  What  have  you  got  in  your  pocket  at  the  side  of  your 
coat  ?  "  Mathilde  said  to  him,  delighted  at  finding  something 
to  talk  about.  She  was  suffering  strangely;  all  those 
sentiments  of  reserve  and  timidity  which  were  so  natural  to  a 
girl  of  good  birth,  had  reasserted  their  dominion  and  were 
torturing  her. 

"  I  have  all  kinds  of  arms  and  pistols,"  answered  Julien 
equally  glad  at  having  something  to  say. 

"  You  must  take  the  ladder  away,"  said  Mathilde. 

"  It  is  very  big,  and  may  break  the  windows  of  the  salon 
down  below  or  the  room  on  the  ground  floor." 

"You  must  not  break  the  windows,"  replied  Mathilde 
making  a  vain  effort  to  assume  an  ordinary  conversational 
tone ;  "it  seems  to  me  you  can  lower  the  ladder  by  tying  a 
cord  to  the  first  rung.  I  have  always  a  supply  of  cords  at 
hand." 

"So  this  is  a  woman  in  love,"  thought  Julien.  "She 
actually  dares  to  say  that  she  is  in  love.  So  much  self- 
possession  and   such   shrewdness   in   taking  precautions   are 


ONE  O'CLOCK  IN  THE  MORNING  347 

sufficient  indications  that  I  am  not  triumphing  over  M.  de 
Croisenois  as  I  foolishly  believed,  but  that  I  am  simply 
succeeding  him.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  what  does  it  matter  to 
me  ?  Do  I  love  her  ?  I  am  triumphing  over  the  marquis  in 
so  far  as  he  would  be  very  angry  at  having  a  successor,  and 
angrier  still  at  that  successor  being  myself.  How  haughtily 
he  looked  at  me  this  evening  in  the  Cafe  Tortoni  when  he 
pretended  not  to  recognise  me !  And  how  maliciously  he 
bowed  to  me  afterwards,  when  he  could  not  get  out  of  it." 

Julien  had  tied  the  cord  to  the  last  rung  of  the  ladder.  He 
lowered  it  softly  and  leant  far  out  of  the  balcony  in  order  to 
avoid  its  touching  the  window  pane.  "  A  fine  opportunity  to 
kill  me,"  he  thought,  "  if  anyone  is  hidden  in  Mathilde's 
room ; "  but  a  profound  silence  continued  to  reign  everywhere. 
The  ladder  touched  the  ground.  Julien  succeeded  in 
laying  it  on  the  border  of  the  exotic  flowers  along  side  the 
wall. 

"  What  will  my  mother  say,"  said  Mathilde,  "  when  she 
sees  her  beautiful  plants  all  crushed  ?  You  must  throw  down 
the  cord,"  she  added  with  great  self-possession.  "If  it  were 
noticed  going  up  to  the  balcony,  it  would  be  a  difficult 
circumstance  to  explain." 

"  And  how  am  I  to  get  away  ? "  said  Julien  in  a  jesting 
tone  affecting  the  Creole  accent.  (One  of  the  chambermaids 
of  the  household  had  been  born  in  Saint-Domingo.) 

"You?  Why  you  will  leave  by  the  door,"  said  Mathilde, 
delighted  at  the  idea. 

"  Ah  !  how  worthy  this  man  is  of  all  my  love,"  she  thought. 
Julien  had  just  let  the  cord  fall  into  the  garden ;  Mathilde 
grasped  his  arm.  He  thought  he  had  been  seized  by  an 
enemy  and  turned  round  sharply,  drawing  a  dagger.  She  had 
thought  that  she  had  heard  a  window  opening.  They 
remained  motionless  and  scarcely  breathed.  The  moonlight 
lit  up  everything.  The  noise  was  not  renewed  and  there  was 
no  more  cause  for  anxiety. 

Then  their  embarrassment  began  again;  it  was  great  on 
both  sides.  Julien  assured  himself  that  the  door  was 
completely  locked ;  he  thought  of  looking  under  the  bed,  but 
he  did  not  dare ;  "  they  might  have  stationed  one  or  two 
lackeys  there."  Finally  he  feared  that  he  might  reproach 
himself  in  the  future  for  this  lack  of  prudence,  and  did  look. 


348       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

Mathilde  had  fallen  into  all  the  anguish  of  the  most 
extreme  timidity.     She  was  horrified  at  her  position. 

"  What  have  you  done  with  my  letters  ?  "  she  said  at  last. 

"  What  a  good  opportunity  to  upset  these  gentlemen,  if  they 
are  eavesdropping,  and  thus  avoiding  the  battle,"  thought 
Julien. 

"  The  first  is  hid  in  a  big  Protestant  Bible,  which  last  night's 
diligence  is  taking  far  away  from  here." 

He  spoke  very  distinctly  as  he  went  into  these  details,  so  as 
to  be  heard  by  any  persons  who  might  be  concealed  in  two 
large  mahogany  cupboards  which  he  had  not  dared  to  inspect. 

"The  other  two  are  in  the  post  and  are  bound  for  the  same 
destination  as  the  first." 

"  Heavens,  why  all  these  precautions  ?  "  said  Mathilde  in 
alarm. 

"  What  is  the  good  of  my  lying  ?  "  thought  Julien,  and  he 
confessed  all  his  suspicions. 

11  So  that's  the  cause  for  the  coldness  of  your  letters,  dear," 
exclaimed  Mathilde  in  a  tone  of  madness  rather  than  of 
tenderness. 

Julien  did  not  notice  that  nuance.  The  endearment  made 
him  lose  his  head,  or  at  any  rate  his  suspicions  vanished.  He 
dared  to  clasp  in  his  arms  that  beautiful  girl  who  inspired  him 
with  such  respect.  He  was  only  partially  rebuffed.  He  fell 
back  on  his  memory  as  he  had  once  at  Besancon  with 
Armanda  Binet,  and  recited  by  heart  several  of  the  finest 
phrases  out  of  the  Nouvelle  Heloise. 

"  You  have  the  heart  of  a  man,"  was  the  answer  she  made 
without  listening  too  attentively  to  his  phrases  ;  "  I  wanted  to 
test  your  courage,  I  confess  it.  Your  first  suspicions  and  your 
resolutions  show  you  even  more  intrepid,  dear,  than  I  had 
believed." 

Mathilde  had  to  make  an  effort  to  call  him  "  dear,"  and  was 
evidently  paying  more  attention  to  this  strange  method  of 
speech  than  to  the  substance  of  what  she  was  saying.  Being 
called  "  dear  "  without  any  tenderness  in  the  tone  afforded  no 
pleasure  to  Julien  ;  he  was  astonished  at  not  being  happy,  and 
eventually  fell  back  on  his  reasoning  in  order  to  be  so.  He 
saw  that  he  was  respected  by  this  proud  young  girl  who  never 
gave  undeserved  praise ;  by  means  of  this  reasoning  he 
managed  to  enjoy  the  happiness  of  satisfied  vanity. 


ONE  O'CLOCK  IN  THE  MORNING  349 

It  was  not,  it  was  true,  that  soulful  pleasure  which  he  had 
sometimes  found  with  madame  de  Renal.  There  was  no 
element  of  tenderness  in  the  feelings  of  these  first  few  minutes. 
It  was  the  keen  happiness  of  a  gratified  ambition,  and  Julien 
was,  above  all,  ambitious.  He  talked  again  of  the  people 
whom  he  had  suspected  and  of  the  precautions  which  he  had 
devised.  As  he  spoke,  he  thought  of  the  best  means  of 
exploiting  his  victory. 

Mathilde  was  still  very  embarrassed  and  seemed  paralysed 
by  the  steps  which  she  had  taken.  She  appeared  delighted  to 
find  a  topic  of  conversation.  They  talked  of  how  they  were 
to  see  each  other  again.  Julien  extracted  a  delicious  joy  from 
the  consciousness  of  the  intelligence  and  the  courage,  of 
which  he  again  proved  himself  possessed  during  this  discussion. 
They  had  to  reckon  with  extremely  sharp  people,  the  little 
Tanbeau  was  certainly  a  spy,  but  Mathilde  and  himself  as  well 
had  their  share  of  cleverness. 

What  was  easier  than  to  meet  in  the  library,  and  there  make 
all  arrangements  ? 

"  I  can  appear  in  all  parts  of  the  hotel,"  added  Julien, 
"  without  rousing  suspicion  almost,  in  fact,  in  madame  de  la 
Mole's  own  room."  It  was  absolutely  necessary  to  go  through 
it  in  order  to  reach  her  daughter's  room.  If  Mathilde  thought 
it  preferable  for  him  always  to  come  by  a  ladder,  then  he 
would  expose  himself  to  that  paltry  danger  with  a  heart 
intoxicated  with  joy. 

As  she  listened  to  him  speaking,  Mathilde  was  shocked  by 
this  air  of  triumph.  "So  he  is  my  master,"  she  said  to 
herself,  she  was  already  a  prey  to  remorse.  Her  reason  was 
horrified  at  the  signal  folly  which  she  had  just  committed.  If 
she  had  had  the  power  she  would  have  annihilated  both 
herself  and  Julien.  When  for  a  few  moments  she  managed 
by  sheer  will-power  to  silence  her  pangs  of  remorse,  she  was 
rendered  very  unhappy  by  her  timidity  and  wounded  shame. 
She  had  quite  failed  to  foresee  the  awful  plight  in  which  she 
now  found  herself. 

"  I  must  speak  to  him,  however,"  she  said  at  last.  "  That  is 
the  proper  thing  to  do.  One  does  talk  to  one's  lover.  And 
then  with  a  view  of  accomplishing  a  duty,  and  with  a 
tenderness  which  was  manifested  rather  in  the  words  which 
she  employed  than  in  the  inflection  of  her  voice,  she  recounted 


350       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

various  resolutions  which  she  had  made  concerning  him 
during  the  last  few  days. 

She  had  decided  that  if  he  should  dare  to  come  to  her  room 
by  the  help  of  the  gardener's  ladder  according  to  his  instruc- 
tions, she  would  be  entirely  his.  But  never  were  such  tender 
passages  spoken  in  a  more  polite  and  frigid  tone.  Up  to  the 
present  this  assignation  had  been  icy.  It  was  enough  to  make 
one  hate  the  name  of  love.  What  a  lesson  in  morality  for  a 
young  and  imprudent  girl !  Is  it  worth  while  to  ruin  one's 
future  for  moments  such  as  this  ? 

After  long  fits  of  hesitation  which  a  superficial  observer 
might  have  mistaken  for  the  result  of  the  most  emphatic  hate 
(so  great  is  the  difficulty  which  a  woman's  self-respect  finds  in 
yielding  even  to  so  firm  a  will  as  hers)  Mathilde  became 
eventually  a  charming  mistress. 

In  point  of  fact,  these  ecstasies  were  a  little  artificial. 
Passionate  love  was  still  more  the  model  which  they  imitated 
than  a  real  actuality. 

Mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  thought  she  was  fulfilling  a  duty 
towards  herself  and  towards  her  lover.  "  The  poor  boy,"  she 
said  to  herself,  "  has  shewn  a  consummate  bravery.  He 
deserves  to  be  happy  or  it  is  really  I  who  will  be  shewing  a 
lack  of  character."  But  she  would  have  been  glad  to  have 
redeemed  the  cruel  necessity  in  which  she  found  herself  even 
at  the  price  of  an  eternity  of  unhappiness. 

In  spite  of  the  awful  violence  she  was  doing  to  herself  she 
was  completely  mistress  of  her  words. 

No  regret  and  no  reproach  spoiled  that  night  which  Julien 
found  extraordinary  rather  than  happy.  Great  heavens  !  what 
a  difference  to  his  last  twenty-four  hours'  stay  in  Verrieres. 
These  fine  Paris  manners  manage  to  spoil  everything,  even 
love,  he  said  to  himself,  quite  unjustly. 

He  abandoned  himself  to  these  reflections  as  he  stood 
upright  in  one  of  the  great  mahogany  cupboards  into  which 
he  had  been  put  at  the  sign  of  the  first  sounds  of  movement 
in  the  -neighbouring  apartment,  which  was  madame  de  la 
Mole's.  Mathilde  followed  her  mother  to  mass,  the  servants 
soon  left  the  apartment  and  Julien  easily  escaped  before  they 
came  back  to  finish  their  work. 

He  mounted  a  horse  and  tried  to  find  the  most  solitary 
spots  in    one  of  the  forests    near   Paris.       He  was   more 


ONE  O'CLOCK  IN  THE  MORNING  351 

astonished  than  happy.  The  happiness  which  filled  his  soul 
from  time  to  time  resembled  that  of  a  young  sub-lieutenant 
who  as  the  result  of  some  surprising  feat  has  just  been  made 
a  full-fledged  colonel  by  the  commander-in-chief;  he  felt 
himself  lifted  up  to  an  immense  height.  Everything  which 
was  above  him  the  day  before  was  now  on  a  level  with 
him  or  even  below  him.  Little  by  little  Julien's  happiness 
increased  in  proportion  as  he  got  further  away  from  Paris. 

If  there  was  no  tenderness  in  his  soul,  the  reason  was  that, 
however  strange  it  may  appear  to  say  so,  Mathilde  had  in 
everything  she  had  done,  simply  accomplished  a  duty.  The 
only  thing  she  had  not  foreseen  in  all  the  events  of  that  night, 
was  the  shame  and  unhappiness  which  she  had  experienced 
instead  of  that  absolute  felicity  which  is  found  in  novels. 

"Can  I  have  made  a  mistake,  and  not  be  in  love  with 
him  ?  "  she  said  to  herself 


CHAPTER  XLVII 

AN   OLD   SWORD 

I  now  mean  to  be  serious  ;  it  is  time 

Since  laughter  now-a-diiys  is  deemed  too  serious. 

A  jest  at  vice  by  virtue  s  called  a  crime. 

Don  Juan,  c.  xiii. 

She  did  not  appear  at  dinner.  She  came  for  a  minute  into 
the  salon  in  the  evening,  but  did  not  look  at  Julien.  He 
considered  this  behaviour  strange,  "  but,"  he  thought,  "  I  do 
not  know  their  usages.  She  will  give  me  some  good  reason 
for  all  this."  None  the  less  he  was  a  prey  to  the  most 
extreme  curiosity;  he  studied  the  expression  of  Mathilde's 
features;  he  was  bound  to  own  to  himself  that  she  looked 
cold  and  malicious.  It  was  evidently  not  the  same  woman 
who  on  the  proceeding  night  had  had,  or  pretended  to  have, 
transports  of  happiness  which  were  too  extravagant  to  be 
genuine. 

The  day  after,  and  the  subsequent  day  she  showed  the 
same  coldness ;  she  did  not  look  at  him,  she  did  not  notice 
his  existence.  Julien  was  devoured  by  the  keenest  anxiety 
and  was  a  thousand  leagues  removed  from  that  feeling  of 
triumph  which  had  been  his  only  emotion  on  the  first  day. 
"Can  it  be  by  chance,"  he  said  to  himself,  "a  return  to 
virtue?"  But  this  was  a  very  bourgeois  word  to  apply  to 
the  haughty  Mathilde. 

"  Placed  in  an  ordinary  position  in  life  she  would  disbelieve 
in  religion,"  thought  Julien,  "  she  only  likes  it  in  so  far  as  it  is 
very  useful  to  the  interests  of  her  class." 

But  perhaps  she  may  as  a  mere  matter  of  delicacy  be  keenly 
reproaching  herself  for  the  mistake  which  she  has  committed. 
Julien  believed  that  he  was  her  first  lover. 


AN  OLD  SWORD  353 

"  But,"  he  said  to  himself  at  other  moments,  "  I  must  admit 
that  there  is  no  trace  of  naivety,  simplicity,  or  tenderness  in 
her  own  demeanour;  I  have  never  seen  her  more  haughty, 
can  she  despise  me  ?  It  would  be  worthy  of  her  to  reproach 
herself  simply  because  of  my  low  birth,  for  what  she  has  done 
for  me." 

While  Julien,  full  of  those  preconceived  ideas  which  he  had 
found  in  books  and  in  his  memories  of  Verrieres,  was  chasing 
the  phantom  of  a  tender  mistress,  who  from  the  minute  when 
she  has  made  her  lover  happy  no  longer  thinks  of  her  own 
existence,  Mathilde's  vanity  was  infuriated  against  him. 

As  for  the  last  two  months  she  had  no  longer  been  bored, 
she  was  not  frightened  of  boredom;  consequently,  without 
being  able  to  have  the  slightest  suspicion  of  it,  Julien  had  lost 
his  greatest  advantage. 

"  I  have  given  myself  a  master,"  said  mademoiselle  de  la 
Mole  to  herself,  a  prey  to  the  blackest  sorrow.  "  Luckily 
he  is  honour  itself,  but  if  I  offend  his  vanity,  he  will  revenge 
himself  by  making  known  the  nature  of  our  relations." 
Mathilde  had  never  had  a  lover,  and  though  passing  through 
a  stage  of  life  which  affords  some  tender  illusions  even  to  the 
coldest  souls,  she  fell  a  prey  to  the  most  bitter  reflections. 

"  He  has  an  immense  dominion  over  me  since  his  reign  is 
one  of  terror,  and  he  is  capable,  if  I  provoke  him,  of  punishing 
me  with  an  awful  penalty."  This  idea  alone  was  enough  to 
induce  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  to  insult  him.  Courage  was 
the  primary  quality  in  her  character.  The  only  thing  which 
could  give  her  any  thrill  and  cure  her  from  a  fundamental  and 
chronically  recurring  ennui  was  the  idea  that  she  was  staking 
her  entire  existence  on  a  single  throw. 

As  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  obstinately  refused  to  look  at 
him,  Julien  on  the  third  day  in  spite  of  her  evident  objection, 
followed  her  into  the  billiard-room  after  dinner. 

"  Well,  sir,  you  think  you  have  acquired  some  very  strong 
rights  over  me  ?  "  she  said  to  him  with  scarcely  controlled 
anger,  "  since  you  venture  to  speak  to  me,  in  spite  of  my  very 
clearly  manifested  wish  ?  Do  you  know  that  no  one  in  the 
world  has  had  such  effrontery  ?  " 

The  dialogue  of  these  two  lovers  was  incomparably 
humourous.  Without  suspecting  it,  they  were  animated  by 
mutual  sentiments  of  the  most   vivid  hate.      As  neither  the 

23 


354       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

one  nor  the  other  had  a  meekly  patient  character,  while  they 
were  both  disciples  of  good  form,  they  soon  came  to  informing 
each  other  quite  clearly  that  they  would  break  for  ever. 

"  I  swear  eternal  secrecy  to  you,"  said  Julien.  "  I  should 
like  to  add  that  I  would  never  address  a  single  word  to  you, 
were  it  not  that  a  marked  change  might  perhaps  jeopardise 
your  reputation."     He  saluted  respectfully  and  left. 

He  accomplished  easily  enough  what  he  believed  to  be  a 
duty;  he  was  very  far  from  thinking  himself  much  in  love 
with  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole.  He  had  certainly  not  loved 
her  three  days  before,  when  he  had  been  hidden  in  the  big 
mahogany  cupboard.  But  the  moment  that  he  found  himself 
estranged  from  her  for  ever  his  mood  underwent  a  complete 
and  rapid  change. 

His  memory  tortured  him  by  going  over  the  least  details  in 
that  night,  which  had  as  a  matter  of  fact  left  him  so  cold. 
In  the  very  night  that  followed  this  announcement  of  a  final 
rupture,  Julien  almost  went  mad  at  being  obliged  to  own  to 
himself  that  he  loved  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole. 

This  discovery  was  followed  by  awful  struggles :  all  his 
emotions  were  overwhelmed. 

Two  days  later,  instead  of  being  haughty  towards  M.  de 
Croisenois,  he  could  have  almost  burst  out  into  tears  and 
embraced  him. 

His  habituation  to  unhappiness  gave  him  a  gleam  of  common- 
sense,  he  decided  to  leave  for  Languedoc,  packed  his  trunk 
and  went  to  the  post. 

He  felt  he  would  faint,  when  on  arriving  at  the  office  of  the 
mails,  he  was  told  that  by  a  singular  chance  there  was  a  place 
in  the  Toulouse  mail.  He  booked  it  and  returned  to  the 
hotel  de  la  Mole  to  announce  his  departure  to  the  marquis. 

M.  de  la  Mole  had  gone  out.  More  dead  than  alive 
Julien  went  into  the  library  to  wait  for  him.  What  was  his 
emotion  when  he  found  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  there. 

As  she  saw  him  come,  she  assumed  a  malicious  expression 
which  it  was  impossible  to  mistake. 

In  his  unhappiness  and  surprise  Julien  lost  his  head  and 
was  weak  enough  to  say  to  her  in  a  tone  of  the  most  heartfelt 
tenderness.     "  So  you  love  me  no  more." 

"  I  am  horrified  at  having  given  myself  to  the  first  man  who 
came  along,"  said  Mathilde  crying  with  rage  against  herself. 


AN  OLD  SWORD  355 

"  The  first  man  who  came  along,"  cried  Julien,  and  he 
made  for  an  old  mediaeval  sword  which  was  kept  in  the 
library  as  a  curiosity. 

His  grief — which  he  thought  was  at  its  maximum  at  the 
moment  when  he  had  spoken  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole — had 
been  rendered  a  hundred  times  more  intense  by  the  tears  of 
shame  which  he  saw  her  shedding. 

He  would  have  been  the  happiest  of  men  if  he  had  been 
able  to  kill  her. 

When  he  was  on  the  point  of  drawing  the  sword  with  some 
difficulty  from  its  ancient  scabbard,  Mathilde,  rendered  happy 
by  so  novel  a  sensation,  advanced  proudly  towards  him,  her 
tears  were  dry. 

The  thought  of  his  benefactor — the  marquis  de  la  Mole — 
presented  itself  vividly  to  Julien.  "  Shall  I  kill  his  daughter  ?  " 
he  said  to  himself,  "  how  horrible."  He  made  a  movement 
to  throw  down  the  sword.  "  She  will  certainly,"  he  thought, 
"  burst  out  laughing  at  the  sight  of  such  a  melodramatic  pose  : " 
that  idea  was  responsible  for  his  regaining  all  his  self-possession. 
He  looked  curiously  at  the  blade  of  the  old  sword  as  though 
he  had  been  looking  for  some  spot  of  rust,  then  put  it  back  in 
the  scabbard  and  replaced  it  with  the  utmost  tranquillity  on 
the  gilt  bronze  nail  from  which  it  hung. 

The  whole  manoeuvre,  which  towards  the  end  was  very  slow, 
lasted  quite  a  minute ;  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  looked  at 
him  in  astonishment.  "  So  I  have  been  on  the  verge  of  being 
killed  by  my  lover,"  she  said  to  herself. 

This  idea  transported  her  into  the  palmiest  days  of  the  age 
of  Charles  IX.  and  of  Henri  III. 

She  stood  motionless  before  Julien,  who  had  just  replaced 
the  sword ;  she  looked  at  him  with  eyes  whose  hatred  had 
disappeared.  It  must  be  owned  that  she  was  very  fascinating 
at  this  moment,  certainly  no  woman  looked  less  like  a 
Parisian  doll  (this  expression  symbolised  Julien's  great  ob- 
jection to  the  women  of  this  city). 

"  I  shall  relapse  into  some  weakness  for  him,"  thought 
Mathilde ;  "  it  is  quite  likely  that  he  will  think  himself  my  lord 
and  master  after  a  relapse  like  that  at  the  very  moment  that  I 
have  been  talking  to  him  so  firmly."     She  ran  away. 

"  By  heaven,  she  is  pretty  said  julien  as  he  watched  her  run 
and  that's  the  creature  who  threw  herself  into  my  arms  with  so 


356  THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

much  passion  scarcely  a  week  ago  .  .  .  and  to  think  that 
those  moments  will  never  come  back  ?  And  that  it's  my  fault, 
to  think  of  my  being  lacking  in  appreciation  at  the  very 
moment  when  I  was  doing  something  so  exrraordinarily 
interesting  !  I  must  own  that  I  was  born  with  a  very  dull 
and  unfortunate  character." 

The  marquis  appeared ;  Julien  hastened  to  announce  his 
departure. 

11  Where  to  ?  "  said  M.  de  la  Mole. 

"  For  Languedoc." 

"  No,  if  you  please,  you  are  reserved  for  higher  destinies. 
If  you  leave  it  will  be  for  the  North.  ...  In  military 
phraseology  I  actually  confine  you  in  the  hotel.  You  will 
compel  me  to  be  never  more  than  two  or  three  hours  away. 
I  may  have  need  of  you  at  any  moment." 

Julien  bowed  and  retired  without  a  word,  leaving  the  marquis 
in  a  state  of  great  astonishment.  He  was  incapable  of  speaking. 
He  shut  himself  up  in  his  room.  He  was  there  free  to 
exaggerate  to  himself  all  the  awfulness  of  his  fate. 

"So,"  he  thought,  "I  cannot  even  get  away.  God  knows 
how  many  days  the  marquis  will  keep  me  in  Paris.  Great 
God,  what  will  become  of  me,  and  not  a  friend  whom  I  can 
consult  ?  The  abbe  Pirard  will  never  let  me  finish  my  first 
sentence,  while  the  comte  Altamira  will  propose  enlisting  me 
in  some  conspiracy.  And  yet  I  am  mad ;  I  feel  it,  I  am  mad. 
Who  will  be  able  to  guide  me,  what  will  become  of  me  ?  " 


CHAPTER  XLVIII 

CRUEL    MOMENTS 

And  she  confesses  it  to  me  !  She  goes  into  even  the 
smallest  details  !  Her  beautiful  eyes  fixed  on  mine,  and 
describes  the  love  which  she  felt  for  another.  — Schiller. 

The  delighted  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  thought  of  nothing 
but  the  happiness  of  having  been  nearly  killed.  She  went  so 
far  as  to  say  to  herself,  "  he  is  worthy  of  being  my  master  since 
he  was  on  the  point  of  killing  me.  How  many  handsome 
young  society  men  would  have  to  be  melted  together  before 
they  were  capable  of  so  passionate  a  transport." 

"  I  must  admit  that  he  was  very  handsome  at  the  time 
when  he  climbed  up  on  the  chair  to  replace  the  sword  in  the 
same  picturesque  position  in  which  the  decorator  hung  it ! 
After  all  it  was  not  so  foolish  of  me  to  love  him." 

If  at  that  moment  some  honourable  means  of  reconcilia- 
tion had  presented  itself,  she  would  have  embraced  it  with 
pleasure.  Julien  locked  in  his  room  was  a  prey  to  the  most 
violent  despair.  He  thought  in  his  madness  of  throwing 
himself  at  her  feet.  If  instead  of  hiding  himself  in  an  out  of 
the  way  place,  he  had  wandered  about  the  garden  of  the  hotel 
so  as  to  keep  within  reach  of  any  opportunity,  he  would 
perhaps  have  changed  in  a  single  moment  his  awful  unhappi- 
ness  into  the  keenest  happiness. 

But  the  tact  for  whose  lack  we  are  now  reproaching  him 
would  have  been  incompatible  with  that  sublime  seizure  of 
the  sword,  which  at  the  present  time  rendered  him  so  handsome 
in  the  eyes  of  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole.  This  whim  in 
Julien's  favour  lasted  the  whole  day;  Mathilde  conjured  up 
a  charming  image  of  the  short  moments  during  which  she  had 
loved  him  :  she  regretted  them. 


358       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

"  As  a  matter  of  fact,"  she  said  to  herself,  "  my  passion  for  this 
poor  boy  can  from  his  point  of  view  only  have  lasted  from  one 
hour  after  midnight  when  I  saw  him  arrive  by  his  ladder  with 
all  his  pistols  in  his  coat  pocket,  till  eight  o'clock  in  the 
morning.  It  was  a  quarter  of  an  hour  after  that  as  I  listened 
to  mass  at  Sainte-Valere  that  I  began  to  think  that  he  might 
very  well  try  to  terrify  me  into  obedience." 

After  dinner  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole,  so  far  from  avoiding 
Julien,  spoke  to  him  and  made  him  promise  to  follow  her  into 
the  garden.     He  obeyed.     It  was  a  new  experience. 

Without  suspecting  it  Mathilde  was  yielding  to  the  love 
which  she  was  now  feeling  for  him  again.  She  found  an 
extreme  pleasure  in  walking  by  his  side,  and  she  looked 
curiously  at  those  hands  which  had  seized  the  sword  to  kill  her 
that  very  morning. 

After  such  an  action,  after  all  that  had  taken  place,  some  of 
the  former  conversation  was  out  of  the  question. 

Mathilde  gradually  began  to  talk  confidentially  to  him  about 
the  state  of  her  heart.  She  found  a  singular  pleasure  in  this 
kind  of  conversation,  she  even  went  so  far  as  to  describe  to 
him    the    fleeting  moments    of  enthusiasm    which    she   had 

experienced  for  M.  de  Croisenois,  for  M.  de  Caylus 

"  What  !  M.  de  Caylus  as  well ! "  exclaimed  Julien,  and  all 
the  jealousy  of  a  discarded  lover  burst  out  in  those  words, 
Mathilde  thought  as  much,  but  did  not  feel  at  all  insulted. 

She  continued  torturing  Julien  by  describing  her  former 
sentiments  with  the  most  picturesque  detail  and  the  accent  of 
the  most  intimate  truth.  He  saw  that  she  was  portraying  what 
she  had  in  her  mind's  eye.  He  had  the  pain  of  noticing  that 
as  she  spoke  she  made  new  discoveries  in  her  own  heart. 
The  unhappiness  of  jealousy  could  not  be  carried  further. 
It  is  cruel  enough  to  suspect  that  a  rival  is  loved,  but  there 
is  no  doubt  that  to  hear  the  woman  one  adores  confess  in 
detail  the  love  which  rivals  inspires,  is  the  utmost  limit  of 
anguish. 

Oh,  how  great  a  punishment  was  there  now  for  those 
impulses  of  pride  which  had  induced  Julien  to  place  himself  as 
superior  to  the  Caylus  and  the  Croisenois  !  How  deeply  did 
he  feel  his  own  unhappiness  as  he  exaggerated  to  himself  their 
most  petty  advantages.  With  what  hearty  good  faith  he 
despised  himself. 


CRUEL  MOMENTS  359 

Mathilde  struck  him  as  adorable.  All  words  are  weak  to 
express  his  excessive  admiration.  As  he  walked  beside  her  he 
looked  surreptitiously  at  her  hands,  her  arms,  her  queenly 
bearing.  He  was  so  completely  overcome  by  love  and  un- 
happiness  as  to  be  on  the  point  of  falling  at  her  feet  and  crying 
"  pity." 

"  Yes,  and  that  person  who  is  so  beautiful,  who  is  so  superior 
to  everything  and  who  loved  me  once,  will  doubtless  soon  love 
M.  de  Caylus." 

Julien  could  have  no  doubts  of  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole's 
sincerity,  the  accent  of  truth  was  only  too  palpable  in  every- 
thing she  said.  In  order  that  nothing  might  be  wanting  to 
complete  his  unhappiness  there  were  moments  when,  as  a  result 
of  thinking  about  the  sentiments  which  she  had  once 
experienced  for  M.  de  Caylus,  Mathilde  came  to  talk  of  him, 
as  though  she  loved  him  at  the  present  time.  She  certainly 
put  an  inflection  of  love  into  her  voice.  Julien  distinguished 
it  clearly. 

He  would  have  suffered  less  if  his  bosom  had  been  filled 
inside  with  molten  lead.  Plunged  as  he  was  in  this  abyss  of 
unhappiness  how  could  the  poor  boy  have  guessed  that  it  was 
simply  because  she  was  talking  to  him,  that  mademoiselle  de 
la  Mole  found  so  much  pleasure  in  recalling  those  weaknesses 
of  love  which  she  had  formerly  experienced  for  M.  de  Caylus 
or  M.  de  Luz. 

Words  fail  to  express  J ulien's  anguish.  He  listened  to  these 
detailed  confidences  of  the  love  she  had  experienced  for  others 
in  that  very  avenue  of  pines  where  he  had  waited  so  few  days 
ago  for  one  o'clock  to  strike  that  he  might  invade  her  room. 
No  human  being  can  undergo  a  greater  degree  of  unhappiness. 

This  kind  of  familiar  cruelty  lasted  for  eight  long  days. 
Mathilde  sometimes  seemed  to  seek  opportunities  of  speaking 
to  him  and  sometimes  not  to  avoid  them  ;  and  the  one  topic  of 
conversation  to  which  they  both  seemed  to  revert  with  a  kind 
of  cruel  pleasure,  was  the  description  of  the  sentiments  she  had 
felt  for  others.  She  told  him  about  the  letters  which  she  had 
written,  she  remembered  their  very  words,  she  recited  whole 
sentences  by  heart. 

She  seemed  during  these  last  days  to  be  envisaging  Julien 
with  a  kind  of  malicious  joy.  She  found  a  keen  enjoyment  in 
his  pangs. 


360       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

One  sees  that  Julien  had  no  experience  of  life ;  he  had  not 
even  read  any  novels.  If  he  had  been  a  little  less  awkward  and 
he  had  coolly  said  to  the  young  girl,  whom  he  adored  so  much 
and  who  had  been  giving  him  such  strange  confidences : 
"  admit  that  though  I  am  not  worth  as  much  as  all  these 
gentlemen,  I  am  none  the  less  the  man  whom  you  loved,"  she 
would  perhaps  have  been  happy  at  being  at  thus  guessed ;  at 
any  rate  success  would  have  entirely  depended  on  the  grace 
with  which  Julien  had  expressed  the  idea,  and  on  the  moment 
which  he  had  chosen  to  do  so.  In  any  case  he  would  have 
extricated  himself  well  and  advantageously  from  a  situation 
which  Mathilde  was  beginning  to  find  monotonous. 

"  And  you  love  me  no  longer,  me,  who  adore  you ! "  said 
Julien  to  her  one  day,  overcome  by  love  and  unhappiness. 
This  piece  of  folly  was  perhaps  the  greatest  which  he  could  have 
committed.  These  words  immediately  destroyed  all  the 
pleasure  which  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  found  in  talking  to 
him  about  the  state  of  her  heart.  She  was  beginning  to  be 
surprised  that  he  did  not,  after  what  had  happened,  take  offence 
at  what  she  told  him.  She  had  even  gone  so  far  as  to  imagine 
at  the  very  moment  when  he  made  that  foolish  remark  that 
perhaps  he  did  not  love  her  any  more.  "  His  pride  has  doubt- 
less extinguished  his  love,"  she  was  saying  to  herself.  "  He  is 
not  the  man  to  sit  still  and  see  people  like  Caylus,  de  Luz, 
Croisenois  whom  he  admits  are  so  superior,  preferred  to  him. 
No,  I  shall  never  see  him  at  my  feet  again." 

Julien  had  often  in  the  naivety  of  his  unhappiness,  during 
the  previous  days  praised  sinctrely  the  brilliant  qualities  of 
these  gentlemen ;  he  would  even  go  so  far  as  to  exaggerate 
them.  This  nuance  had  not  escaped  mademoiselle  de  la 
Mole,  she  was  astonished  by  it,  but  did  not  guess  its  reason. 
Julien's  frenzied  soul,  in  praising  a  rival  whom  he  thought  was 
loved,  was  sympathising  with  his  happiness. 

These  frank  but  stupid  words  changed  everything  in  a  single 
moment ;  confident  that  she  was  loved,  Mathilde  despised  him 
utterly. 

She  was  walking  with  him  when  he  made  his  ill-timed 
remark ;  she  left  him,  and  her  parting  look  expressed  the  most 
awful  contempt.  She  returned  to  the  salon  and  did  not  look 
at  him  again  during  the  whole  evening.  This  contempt 
monopolised  her  mind  the  following  day.     The  impulse  which 


CRUEL  MOMENTS  361 

during  the  last  week  had  made  her  find  so  much  pleasure  in 
treating  Julien  as  her  most  intimate  friend  was  out  of  the 
question ;  the  very  sight  of  him  was  disagreeable.  The 
sensation  Mathilde  felt  reached  the  point  of  disgust ;  nothing 
can  express  the  extreme  contempt  which  she  experienced  when 
her  eyes  fell  upon  him. 

Julien  had  understood  nothing  of  the  history  of  Mathilde's 
heart  during  the  last  week,  but  he  distinguished  the  contempt. 
He  had  the  good  sense  only  to  appear  before  her  on  the  rarest 
possible  occasions,  and  never  looked  at  her. 

But  it  was  not  without  a  mortal  anguish  that  he,  as  it  were, 
deprived  himself  of  her  presence.  He  thought  he  felt  his  un- 
happiness  increasing  still  further.  "  The  courage  of  a  man's 
heart  cannot  be  carried  further,"  he  said  to  himself.  He  passed 
his  life  seated  at  a  little  window  at  the  top  of  the  hotel ;  the 
blind  was  carefully  closed,  and  from  here  at  anyrate  he  could 
see  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  when  she  appeared  in  the  garden. 

What  were  his  emotions  when  he  saw  her  walking  after 
dinner  with  M.  de  Caylus,  M.  de  Luz,  or  some  other  for  whom 
she  had  confessed  to  him  some  former  amorous  weakness  ! 

Julien  had  no  idea  that  unhappiness  could  be  so  intense ; 
he  was  on  the  point  of  shouting  out.  This  firm  soul  was  at 
last  completely  overwhelmed. 

Thinking  about  anything  else  except  mademoiselle  de  la 
Mole  had  become  odious  to  him ;  he  became  incapable  of 
writing  the  simplest  letters. 

"  You  are  mad,"  the  marquis  said  to  him. 

Julien  was  frightened  that  his  secret  might  be  guessed,  talked 
about  illness  and  succeeded  in  being  believed.  Fortunately 
for  him  the  marquis  rallied  him  at  dinner  about  his  next 
journey;  Mathilde  understood  that  it  might  be  a  very  long 
one.  It  was  now  several  days  that  Julien  had  avoided  her, 
and  the  brilliant  young  men  who  had  all  that  this  pale  sombre 
being  she  had  once  loved  was  lacking,  had  no  longer  the 
power  of  drawing  her  out  of  her  reverie. 

,c  An  ordinary  girl,"  she  said  to  herself,  "  would  have  sought 
out  the  man  she  preferred  among  those  young  people  who  are 
the  cynosure  of  a  salon ;  but  one  of  the  characteristics  of 
genius  is  not  to  drive  its  thoughts  over  the  rut  traced  by  the 
vulgar. 

"  Why,  if  I  were  the  companion  of  a  man  like  Julien,  who 


362       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

only  lacks  the  fortune  that  I  possess,  I  should  be  continually 
exciting  attention,  I  should  not  pass  through  life  unnoticed. 
Far  from  incessantly  fearing  a  revolution  like  my  cousins  who 
are  so  frightened  of  the  people  that  they  have  not  the  pluck  to 
scold  a  postillion  who  drives  them  badly,  I  should  be  certain 
of  playing  a  role  and  a  great  role,  for  the  man  whom  I  have 
chosen  has  a  character  and  a  boundless  ambition.  What  does 
he  lack?  Friends,  money?  I  will  give  them  him."  But  she 
treated  Julien  in  her  thought  as  an  inferior  being  whose  love 
one  could  win  whenever  one  wanted. 


CHAPTER  XLIX 

THE   OPERA    BOUFFE 

How  the  spring  of  love  resembleth 

The  uncertain  glory  of  an  April  day, 
Whicli  now  shows  all  the  beauty  of  the  sun, 

And  by  and  by  a  cloud  takes  all  away. — Shakespeare. 

Engrossed  by  thoughts  of  her  future  and  the  singular  role 
which  she  hoped  to  play,  Mathilde  soon  came  to  miss  the 
dry  metaphysical  conversations  which  she  had  often  had  with 
Julien.  Fatigued  by  these  lofty  thoughts  she  would  sometimes 
also  miss  those  moments  of  happiness  which  she  had  found  by 
his  side ;  these  last  memories  were  not  unattended  by  remorse 
which  at  certain  times  even  overwhelmed  her. 

"  But  one  may  have  a  weakness,"  she  said  to  herself,  "  a  girl 
like  I  am  should  only  forget  herself  for  a  man  of  real  merit ; 
they  will  not  say  that  it  is  his  pretty  moustache  or  his  skill  in 
horsemanship  which  have  fascinated  me,  but  rather  his  deep 
discussions  on  the  future  of  France  and  his  ideas  on  the  an- 
alogy between  the  events  which  are  going  to  burst  upon  us 
and  the  English  revolution  of  1688." 

"  I  have  been  seduced,"  she  answered  in  her  remorse.  "  I  am 
a  weak  woman,  but  at  least  I  have  not  been  led  astray  like  a 
doll  by  exterior  advantages." 

"  If  there  is  a  revolution  why  should  not  Julien  Sorel  play 
the  role  of  Roland  and  I  the  r61e  of  Madame  Roland?  I 
prefer  that  part  to  Madame  de  Stael's ;  the  immorality  of  my 
conduct  will  constitute  an  obstacle  in  this  age  of  ours.  I  will 
certainly  not  let  them  reproach  me  with  an  act  of  weakness ; 
I  should  die  of  shame." 

Mathilde's  reveries  were  not  all  as  grave,  one  must  admit, 
as  the  thoughts  which  we  have  just  transcribed 


364       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

She  would  look  at  Julien  and  find  a  charming  grace  in  hi 
slightest  action. 

"  I  have  doubtless,"  she  would  say,  "  succeeded  in  destroy- 
ing in  him  the  very  faintest  idea  he  had  of  any  one  else's 
rights." 

"  The  air  of  unhappiness  and  deep  passion  with  which  the 
poor  boy  declared  his  love  to  me  eight  days  ago  proves  it ;  I 
must  own  it  was  very  extraordinary  of  me  to  manifest  anger 
at  words  in  which  there  shone  so  much  respect  and  so  much  of 
passion.  Ami  not  his  real  wife  ?  Those  words  of  his  were  quite 
natural,  and  I  must  admit,  were  really  very  nice.  Julien  still 
continued  to  love  me,  even  after  those  eternal  conversations 
in  which  I  had  only  spoken  to  him  (cruelly  enough  I  admit), 
about  those  weaknesses  of  love  which  the  boredom  of  the  life 
I  lead  had  inspired  me  for  those  young  society  men  of  whom 
he  is  so  jealous.  Ah,  if  he  only  knew  what  little  danger  I 
have  to  fear  from  them  ;  how  withered  and  stereotyped  they 
seem  to  me  in  comparison  with  him." 

While  indulging  in  these  reflections  Mathilde  made  a  random 
pencil  sketch  of  a  profile  on  a  page  of  her  album.  One  of  the 
profiles  she  had  just  finished  surprised  and  delighted  her.  It 
had  a  striking  resemblance  to  Julien.  "  It  is  the  voice  of 
heaven.  That's  one  of  the  miracles  of  love,"  she  cried 
ecstatically ;  "  Without  suspecting  it,  I  have  drawn  his 
portrait." 

She  fled  to  her  room,  shut  herself  up  in  it,  and  with  much 
application  made  strenuous  endeavours  to  draw  Julien's 
portrait,  but  she  was  unable  to  succeed ;  the  profile  she  had 
traced  at  random  still  remained  the  most  like  him.  Mathilde 
was  delighted  with  it.  She  saw  in  it  a  palpable  proof  of  the 
grand  passion. 

She  only  left  her  album  very  late  when  the  marquise  had 
her  called  to  go  to  the  Italian  Opera.  Her  one  idea  was  to 
catch  sight  of  Julien,  so  that  she  might  get  her  mother  to 
request  him  to  keep  them  company. 

He  did  not  appear,  and  the  ladies  had  only  ordinary  vulgar 
creatures  in  their  box.  During  the  first  act  of  the  opera, 
Mathilde  dreamt  of  the  man  she  loved  with  all  the  ecstasies  of 
the  most  vivid  passion  ;  but  a  love-maxim  in  the  second  act 
sung  it  must  be  owned  to  a  melody  worthy  of  Cimarosa 
pierced  her  heart.     The  heroine  of  the  opera  said  "You  must 


THE  OPERA  BOUFFE  365 

punish  me  for  the  excessive  adoration  which  I  feel  for  him. 
I  love  him  too  much." 

From  the  moment  that  Mathilde  heard  this  sublime  song 
everything  in  the  world  ceased  to  exist.  She  was  spoken  to, 
she  did  not  answer  ;  her  mother  reprimanded  her,  she  could 
scarcely  bring  herself  to  look  at  her.  Her  ecstasy  reached  a 
state  of"  exultation  and  passion  analogous  to  the  most  violent 
transports  which  Julien  had  felt  for  her  for  some  days.  The 
divinely  graceful  melody  to  which  the  maxim,  which  seemed 
to  have  such  a  striking  application  to  her  own  position,  was 
sung,  engrossed  all  the  minutes  when  she  was  not  actually 
thinking  of  Julien.  Thanks  to  her  love  for  music  she  was  on 
this  particular  evening  like  madame  de  Renal  always  was, 
when  she  thought  of  Julien.  Love  of  the  head  has  doubtless 
more  intelligence  than  true  love,  but  it  only  has  moments  of 
enthusiasm.  It  knows  itself  too  well,  it  sits  in  judgment  on 
itself  incessantly ;  far  from  distracting  thought  it  is  made  by 
sheer  force  of  thought. 

On  returning  home  Mathilde,  in  spite  of  Madame  de  la 
Mole's  remonstrances,  pretended  to  have  a  fever  and  spent  a 
part  of  the  night  in  going  over  this  melody  on  her  piano.  She 
sang  the  words  of  the  celebrated  air  which  had  so  fascinated 
her : — 

Devo  punirmi,  devo  punirmi. 
Se  troppo  amai,  etc. 

As  the  result  of  this  night  of  madness,  she  imagined  that 
she  had  succeeded  in  triumphing  over  her  love.  This  page 
will  be  prejudicial  in  more  than  one  way  to  the  unfortunate 
author.  Frigid  souls  will  accuse  him  of  indecency.  But  the 
young  ladies  who  shine  in  the  Paris  salons  have  no  right  to 
feel  insulted  at  the  supposition  that  one  of  their  number  might 
be  liable  to  those  transports  of  madness  which  have  been  de- 
grading the  character  of  Mathilde.  That  character  is  purely 
imaginary,  and  is  even  drawn  quite  differently  from  that  social 
code  which  will  guarantee  so  distinguished  a  place  in  the 
world's  history  to  nineteenth  century  civilization. 

The  young  girls  who  have  adorned  this  winter's  balls  are 
certainly  not  lacking  in  prudence. 

I  do  not  think  either  that  they  can  be  accused  of  being  un- 
duly scornful  of  a  brilliant  fortune,  horses,  fine  estates  and  all 


366       THE  RED  AND  THE  BLACK 

the  guarantees  of  a  pleasant  position  in  society.  Far  from 
finding  these  advantages  simply  equivalent  to  boredom,  they 
usually  concentrate  on  them  their  most  constant  desires  and 
and  devote  to  them  such  passion  as  their  hearts  possess. 

Nor  again  is  it  love  which  is  the  dominant  principle  in  the 
career  of  young  men  who,  like  Julien,  are  gifted  with  some 
talent;  they  attach  themselves  with  an  irresistible  grip  to 
some  coterie,  and  when  the  coterie  succeeds  all  the  good 
things  of  society  are  rained  upon  them.  Woe  to  the  studious 
man  who  belongs  to  no  coterie,  even  his  smallest  and  most 
doubtful  successes  will  constitute  a  grievance,  and  lofty  virtue 
will  rob  him  and  triumph.  Yes,  monsieur,  a  novel  is  a  mirror 
which  goes  out  on  a  highway.  Sometimes  it  reflects  the  azure 
of  the  heavens,  sometimes  the  mire  of  the  pools  of  mud  on 
the  way,  and  the  man  who  carries  this  mirror  in  his  knapsack 
is  forsooth  to  be  accused  by  you  of  being  immoral !  His 
mirror  shows  the  mire,  and  you  accuse  the  mirror  !  Rather 
accuse  the  main  road  where  the  mud  is,  or  rather  the 
inspector  of  roads  who  allows  the  water  to  accumulate  and 
the  mud  to  form. 

Now  that  it  is  quite  understood  that  Mathilde's  character 
is  impossible  in  our  own  age,  which  is  as  discreet  as  it  is 
virtuous,  I  am  less  frightened  of  offence  by  continuing  the 
history  of  the  follies  of  this  charming  girl. 

During  the  whole  of  the  following  day  she  looked  out  for 
opportunities  of  convincing  herself  of  her  triumph  over  her 
mad  passion.  Her  great  aim  was  to  displease  Julien  in 
everything  ;  but  not  one  of  his  movements  escaped  her. 

Julien  was  too  unhappy,  and  above  all  too  agitated  to 
appreciate  so  complicated  a  stratagem  of  passion.  Still  less 
was  he  capable  of  seeing  how  favourable  it  really  was  to  him. 
He  was  duped  by  it.  His  unhappiness  had  perhaps  never 
been  so  extreme.  His  actions  were  so  little  controlled  by  his 
intellect  that  if  some  mournful  philosopher  had  said  to  him, 
"  Think  how  to  exploit  as  quickly  as  you  can  those  symptoms 
which  promise  to  be  favourable  to  you.  In  this  kind  of  head- 
love  which  is  seen  at  Paris,  the  same  mood  cannot  1  ast  more 
than  two  days,"  he  would  not  have  understood  him.  But 
however  ecstatic  he  might  feel,  Julien  was  a  man  of  honour. 
Discretion  was  his  first  duty.  He  appreciated  it.  Asking 
advice,  describing  his  agony  to  the  first  man  who  came  along 


THE  OPERA  BOUFFE  367 

would  have  constituted  a  happiness  analogous  to  that  of  the 
unhappy  man  who,  when  traversing  a  burning  desert  receives 
from  heaven  a  drop  of  icy  water.  He  realised  the  danger, 
was  frightened  of  answering  an  indiscreet  question  by  a 
torrent  of  tears,  and  shut  himself  up  in  his  own  room. 

He  saw  Mathilde  walking  in  the  garden  for  a  long  time. 
When  she  at  last  left  it,  he  went  down  there  and  approached 
the  rose  bush  from  which  she  had  taken  a  flower. 

The  night  was  dark  and  he  could  abandon  himself  to  his 
unhappiness  without  fear  of  being  seen.  It  was  obvious  to 
him  that  mademoiselle  de  la  Mole  loved  one  of  those  young 
officers  with  whom  she  had  chatted  so  gaily.  She  had  loved 
him,  but  she  had  realised  his  little  merit,  "  and  as  a  matter  of 
fact  I  had  very  little,"  Julien  said  to  himself  with  full  con- 
viction. "  Taking  me  all  round  I  am  a  very  dull,  vulgar 
person,  very  boring  to  others  and  quite  unbearable  to  myself." 
He  was  mortally  disgusted  with  all  his  good  qualities,  and 
with  all  the  things  which  he  had  once  loved  so  enthusiastically ; 
and  it  was  when  his  imagination  was  in  this  distorted  condition 
that  he  undertook  to  judge  life  by  means  of  its  aid.  This 
mistake  is  typical  of  a  superior  man. 

The  idea  of  suicide  presented  itself  to  him  several  times ; 
the  idea  was  full  of  charm,  and  like  a  delicious  rest ;  because 
it  was  the  glass  of  iced  water  offered  to  the  wretch  dying  of 
thirst  and  heat  in  the  desert. 

"  My  death  will  increase  the  contempt  she  has  for  me,"  he 
exclaimed.     "  What  a  memory  I  should  leave  her." 

Courage  is  the  only  resource  of  a  human  being  who  has 
fallen  into  this  last  abyss  of  unhappiness.  Julien  did  not 
have  sufficient  genius  to  say  to  himself,  "  I  must  dare,"  but 
as  he  looked  at  the  window  of  Mathilde's  room  he  saw 
through  the  blinds  that  she  was  putting  out  her  light.  He 
conjured  up  that  charming  room  which  he  had  seen,  alas ! 
once  in  his  whole  life.  His  imagination  did  not  go  any 
further. 

One  o'clock  struck.  Hearing  the  stroke  of  the  clock  and 
saying  to  himself,  "  I  will  climb  up  the  ladder,"  scarcely 
took  a  moment. 

It  was  the  flash  of  genius,  good  reasons  crowded  on  his 
mind.  "  May  I  be  more  fortunate  than  before,"